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Li flies the flag for Asia

CHINA'S Li Na was the only Asian representative left in the either singles draw after the fourth day of the French Open on Wednesday.

The 25th seed was one of seven Asian players in the women's main draw but the only one to make it through to the third round after beating Swiss Timea Bacsinsky 6-1, 6-4 at Roland Garros in Paris.

Compatriot and 15th seed Zheng Jie fell 4-6, 3-6 to grand slam debutante Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in the second round, while Peng Shuai did not even make it that far. Japan's Ai Sugiyama, who extended her record for consecutive appearances in grand slam main draws to 60, and her compatriot Ayumi Morita both suffered first-round exits along with India's Sania Mirza.

Holder Ana Ivanovic of Serbia extinguished Tamarine Tanasugarn's hopes with a clinical 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of the Thai in their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Asian men's challenge limped to an end when Chinese Taipei's Lu Yen-hsun retired after the first set of his opening-round encounter with Frenchman Mathieu Montcourt last Sunday.

Clay is not generally a happy hunting ground for Asians brought up on faster courts like hard and grass.


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