London: Li Na, the Chinese sixth seed, overcame the in-form Simona Halep in a roller-coaster Wimbledon second round match on Thursday.
Halep, the world number 32, was the toughest possible second round opponent for a seed, with her high ranking and impressive winning run, but Li survived a second-set scare to eventually triumph 6-2, 1-6, 6-0.
Halep went into the match on the back of an 11-match unbeaten streak, winning Nuremburg on clay and s'Hertogenbosch on grass the following week to claim her first tour titles.
And Halep had already beaten Li in the US Open first round in straight sets in 2011 when the Chinese was the reigning French Open champion.
It was their only previous encounter and was the first of two times that Halep had beaten a top-10 player.
But Li's experience finally told on the 2,000-seater Court 3 and the 31-year-old next plays either Czech 32nd seed Klara Zakopalova or Germany's Annika Beck in the third round.
"I felt I played very well in the first set," Li said, before "I lost a little bit of confidence".
"This is women's tennis: it's always crazy on the court."
In theory, the potential path to the title is much more open for Li now that three of the five higher-ranking seeds -- Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Sara Errani -- are out.
"I couldn't believe they have so many top seeds that are out of the tournament," Li said.
"I have to try to stay as long as I can, I didn't want to go out next."
Li's Wimbledon best was reaching the 2006 and 2010 quarter-finals, though she tumbled in the second round on her last two All England Club outings.
Li broke in the first game then again for 4-1, coming up with good forehand winners. Halep broke back next game but the Chinese broke for a third time before sealing the set.
If Li was comfortable in the first set, the second was an entirely different affair with Halep, despite needing treatment on a back injury, dominating her opponent.
And the third swung wildly the other way to see the Chinese through.
Li's compatriot Peng Shuai, the 24th seed, faces a second round clash Thursday with Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.