Serve not up to scratch for China`s Li

Sydney: China`s Li Na made short work of Ekaterina Makarova in the Sydney International first round on Monday but she will have to increase the power and penetration of her serve if she is to be a contender at the Australian Open.

Li carried her strong Hopman Cup form into her opening match in Sydney and dispatched Russian Makarova 6-0, 6-3 in another mostly confident stride towards the year`s first grand slam at Melbourne Park next week.

Li`s groundstrokes, especially the main weapon of her forehand, were grooved but her serve was inaccurate and occasionally ineffective in the second set.

The world number five conceded her delivery needs mass improvement between now and her arrival at Melbourne Park.

"I should improve a lot for my serve, otherwise it is not going to be easy to win my service games," she said.

"I have to work a lot more on my serve. In the second set, it did not work. Right now I`m still in Sydney, so I`m not thinking about Melbourne because I have to focus on this tournament first.”

"I`m happy with how I was moving on the court, to see how I hit the shot, but I need to keep working on my serve."

Li won the Sydney title last year before reaching the final of the Australian Open.

She says her loss to Kim Clijsters in the Melbourne final helped her win the French Open as it gave her the big occasion experience.

Li declined on Monday to discuss whether her form right now was as strong as it was in Sydney 12 months ago.

"Last year is over, so I don`t have to think about what I do last year," she said. "Everyone has to look forward."

Nine of the top 10 women are in Sydney in a dress rehearsal for the Australian Open, but Li was not interested in scouting the form of her rivals.

"I am just focused on what I`m doing."

Bureau Report