Li Na reached the quarter-finals of the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International on Wednesday without hitting a ball while troubled Australian Bernard Tomic reached the third round in the men’s tournament.
Li, the second seed, got the news from her coach that French opponent Marion Bartoli, the 2011 Eastbourne winner and Wimbledon finalist in 2007, would not be playing their second-round match because of a viral infection.
The Chinese No. 1 went back to the practice court instead and admitted she would have preferred a tough match than a walkover.
“This is not the best way to win a match. So I was feeling so sorry for her,” the former Roland Garros champion said.
There was another shock as Yanina Wickmayer beat 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 while sixth seed Maria Kirilenko accounted for Briton Elena Baltacha 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki dominated Laura Robson 6-4, 6-4 and Jamie Hampton of the US defeated Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
In the second round of the women’s doubles top seeds Nadia Petrova of Russia and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia beat Hsieh and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, 6-2, 7-5.
Tomic gained a much needed morale boost after both on court and off court problems, not all of his own making, with a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over the experienced Julien Benneteau of France.
Tomic was watched in the public stands by his controversial father John, who was allowed to do so by organizers so long as he paid for his own ticket and behaved himself.
He is serving a worldwide ban imposed by tennis authorities after he allegedly assaulted his son’s French hitting partner Thomas Drouet earlier this year for which he faces a court case in Madrid later this year.
“I thought I won the match, took my foot off the pedal,” the 20-year-old Tomic said. “Before you know it, he’s down, he goes for his shots, he’s relaxed, and he breaks you and then he gets the firepower to play and from there he started playing ridiculous.”
“I should have won it comfortably, but I’m lucky. Somehow I pulled it through in the end,” he said.
Tomic’s relief was not mirrored by the top seed Canada’s Milos Raonic, who will head to the Monday start of Wimbledon without a win on grass after defeats in Halle and Eastbourne.
Raonic was beaten by Croatian journeyman Ivan Dodig 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).
Raonic, who is seeded 15 at Wimbledon, has recently started working with former Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic, but the combination has so far yet to bear much fruit.bad dad: Bernard Tomic was watched in the stands by his controversial father, who was only allowed to do so after paying for his own ticket and undertaking to behave himself
“It’s more me,” he said of his problems on grass. “I’ve got to figure out my thing. It’s like I’m just not executing the things I need to execute.”
“Obviously the surface doesn’t make it easy,” he said. “I think it’s easier for me to figure out things on hard courts per se, but I think it’s all on my shoulders.”
Czech veteran Radek Stepanek produced an upset with his defeat of German third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3.
Italy’s 2011 Eastbourne winner Andreas Seppi came from a set down to beat American Ryan Harrison 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Seppi’s compatriot and eighth seed Fabio Fognini beat Martin Klizan 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-2.
Additional reporting by staff writer