PARIS Chinese sixth seed Li Na was kept on her toes as she reached the second round of the French Open with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues on Monday.
Li, the 2011 Roland Garros champion who had never beaten Medina Garrigues in three previous claycourt meetings, was never allowed to let her guard down by the world number 68 on a sunsoaked Court Philippe Chatrier, but she prevailed on her first match point after one hour 44 minutes.
Li opened a 4-0 lead in the first set before a resilient Medina Garrigues threatened a comeback by breaking back twice.
The Spaniard opened a 2-0 lead in the second set but could not capitalize on her advantage as Li roared back to win four games in a row, relying on a series of booming forehand winners.
Medina Garrigues leveled for 4-4 before dropping serve in the ninth game. Li sealed the win when Medina Garrigues fired a forehand long..
Li will next face American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)