Li Na advances to 4th round at French Open

May 28, 2011 - 6:58 AM
France Tennis French Open

China's Li Na reacts as she plays Romania's Sorana Cirstea during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, May, 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

PARIS (AP) — Australian Open finalist Li Na moved into the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday, beating Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-2.

The sixth-seeded Li, who this year became the first Chinese player to get to the final at a major tournament, will next face No. 9 Petra Kvitova.

Li has made at least the quarterfinals at the other three Grand Slam tournaments, but she has never progressed past the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus also advanced, beating No. 30 Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-3, 6-2. Kvitova defeated Vania King of the United States 6-4, 6-2.

Later Saturday, Novak Djokovic was to return to the court to face Juan Martin del Potro. The pair started their match Friday, splitting the opening two sets, but it was suspended because of darkness.

Five-time champion Rafael Nadal was also scheduled to be on court, as was No. 7 Maria Sharapova.

With Nadal and Djokovic the co-favorites at Roland Garros this year, Roger Federer came to the French Open a little bit under the radar, more than happy to let the world's focus land squarely on someone else for a while.

But the way the 16-time Grand Slam champion is playing at Roland Garros, that's quickly starting to change — especially with Nadal and Djokovic already dropping sets in the early rounds.

"People expected me to hopefully win or to prove myself here in Paris over many, many years, and this year I don't have to do that because I have already won this tournament before," the 2009 champion said after beating Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the third round.

"And now the expectations are sky-high for Novak and Rafa, because he's the defending champion. That leaves me a bit out of the pressure situation, which is not a bad thing for me."

Federer came to the French Open seeded third, making it the first time he has been outside the top two at a Grand Slam tournament since 2003. He also entered the tournament without being the reigning champion of at least one of the majors for the first time since he won Wimbledon that year.

None of that seems to be affecting him at this year's tournament.

"I'm at peace with my game right now. I'm physically fine," Federer said. "I mean, it's still early in the tournament, and also not to be overrated, but at the same time it's really nice to be moving in the draw so well, so quickly, really."