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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 29 September 2020

Djokovic loses battle of the sexes tennis clash but there's a 'but'

The world number one was defeated by Li Na at an exhibition match at the China Open.

Novak Djokovic asks permission to turn off his microphone so he can turn the air blue.
Novak Djokovic asks permission to turn off his microphone so he can turn the air blue.
Image: YouTube screengrab

TOP MEN’S PLAYER Novak Djokovic was humbled by women’s number five Li Na in a charity match in Beijing. The Serb was forced to do battle with both the home crowd favourite and rules that were heavily in her favour.

As Asia’s first singles Grand Slam winner, 2011 French Open champion Li is used to breaking barriers in a sport she has pioneered in China.

But with the 31-year-old giving herself an advantage of at least 30-0 in the five games she played against Serbia’s Djokovic, the light-hearted match never threatened to slip from her grasp – despite the 3-2 scoreline.

Li and Djokovic traded shots, as well as well-mannered banter across the nets in the match that was watched by 12,000 spectators at the end of an evening of friendly competition between the pair at Beijing’s Olympic Park.

YouTube credit: Leonidas Centurion

The exhibition match was organised to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the China Open, where qualifying matches were being played earlier Friday.

The sport’s original inter-gender contest was played 40 years ago between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Earlier this year, before he captured his first Wimbledon title, Andy Murray said he would be open to playing Serena Williams, the top women’s player, in a challenge match.

© AFP,2013

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