Tennis-Li through to third round without hitting a ball

MIAMI, March 21 Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:35pm GMT

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MIAMI, March 21 (Reuters) - World number two Li Na advanced to the third round of the Sony Open on Friday without hitting a single ball when Russia's Alisa Kleybanova withdrew because of a viral illness.

After a first round bye, the Australian Open winner was supposed to lead off what has been dubbed the 'parade of champions' on the Crandon Park centre court.

Even without Li, however, the lineup remains a mouth-watering one with 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer, world number two Novak Djokovic, three-times Miami winner Venus Williams and defending champion Andy Murray all in action.

Kleybanova, who is fighting her way back up the rankings after battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, handed her Chinese opponent a walkover due to a viral infection.

Slovakian 10th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who lost the Australian Open final to Li, sped past Austria's Yvonne Meusburger 6-1 6-2 to reach the third round while 13th seeded Italian Roberta Vinci was stopped 6-4 2-6 7-5 by Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. (Reporting by Steve Keating, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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