Tennis: Li hands Sharapova Birmingham defeat | sports | Hindustan Times
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Tennis: Li hands Sharapova Birmingham defeat

sports Updated: Jun 13, 2009 22:29 IST

AFP
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Maria Sharapova's Wimbledon build-up suffered a setback on Saturday when she was knocked out of the Birmingham grasscourt event 6-4, 6-4 by China's Li Na.

Sharapova, the champion here in 2004 and 2005, is still feeling her way back on tour after over 10 months out with a shoulder injury and she showed signs of a quick revival by reaching the French Open quarter-finals.

But the unseeded Russian was plagued by errors on Saturday, suffering six breaks of serve in her 90-minute defeat.

"I wasn't playing with the same intensity today as I did in my previous matches," said Sharapova.

"Against an opponent like her, the intensity has to be there the whole match. I just wasn't able to come through today."

Li, the fourth seed, will face Slovakian 13th seed Magdalena Rybarikova, who beat India's Sania Mirza 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, in Sunday's final.

"My return of serve was so good today. I broke her many times so it did not feel like a grass court match," said the Chinese star.

"I lost to her so many times before, so I thought if I lose again then I should not worry. That made me very relaxed today."