Kvitova Beats Kerber, Li Sees Off Injured Azarenka Ahead of Saturday’s Semi-Final Duel.

The 2011 WTA Tour Championship winner Petra Kvitova has reached the last four of the tournament in Istanbul after edging Angelique Kerber in a battle between two of the world’s best left-handed players.

Fifth seed Kvitova triumphed 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3 over the number eight seeded Kerber to claim her second win in the red Group. The Czech has qualified alongside Serena Williams and plays China’s Li Na in Saturday’s Semis.

Kvitova and Li are tied in their career head-to-head series, 3-3 (going 1-1 in 2011, 1-1 in 2012 and 1-1 in 2013).

Their last meeting came in the quarterfinals of Beijing just a matter of weeks ago, with Kvitova claiming a hard-fought 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Li in front of her home crowd.

Getty Image: Petra Kvitova Celebrates her Victory Over Germany's Angelique Kerber in Istanbul.
Getty Image: Petra Kvitova Celebrates her Victory Over Germany’s Angelique Kerber in Istanbul.

“She’s a good friend of mine,” Kvitova said. “It’s always good to play against her and it’s always a tough match. We just played three sets in Beijing. But right now I’m just really happy about my win today – I really wanted to get to the semifinals this week. But of course it’s going to be tough tomorrow.”

It is the third time a left-hander has reached the semi-finals of the tournament since 1992.

Li proceeds into the last four after claiming a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Victoria Azarenka in her third match of the round-robin fixture.

Li Na Returning a Serve During Her Victory Over Victoria Azarenka.
Li Na Returning a Serve During Her Victory Over Victoria Azarenka.

It is the first time that the fourth seed has reached the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament, involving the best eight players in the world, and she did it in style wining all three of her matches.

The Chinese is even set to move from world number five to three should she claim victory in Saturday’s showdown, surpassing her career high of number four (where she’s tied with Kimiko Dante-Krum) and will become the highest ranked Asian player (male or female) ever.

Azarenka hurt her back while serving in the sixth game of the first set and was clearly in pain the rest of the match. She took a medical timeout and received treatment during several changeovers.

Azarenka Being Attended By a WTA Official to After Hurting Herself.
Azarenka Being Attended to By a WTA Official After Hurting Herself.

She stayed on court despite poor movement and discomfort as Li ensured victory to top the White Group.

Li’s victory also ensured Jelena Jankovic reach the semis ahead of her match against Sara Errani, with the Serbian set to face Williams on Saturday in a last-4 tie.


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