Sports

Li Na battles past
No. 32 Rybarikova

Li Na's return to action after last month's Australian Open triumph proved to be a tough one, as she eventually prevailed in three sets over Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova at the WTA Qatar Open yesterday.

The top-seeded Chinese needed two hours and 15 minutes to overcome world No. 32 Rybarikova 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic lost 6-4, 1-6, 3-6 to Klara Zakopalova, while 12th-seeded Samantha Stosur went down 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to Jana Cepelova.

The centre court saw a great escape by third seed Petra Kvitova, who battled past seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7).

Eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki also made an early exit when she lost 6-4, 7-5 to Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer. - AFP.