Li Na overpowered Italy’s Flavia Panetta to become the first player through to the last four of the Australian Open, where she will face teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who continued her impressive run at the tournament with a win against Ana Ivanovic.
The Chinese fourth seed kept her composure and held her serves to dismiss Panetta 6-2, 6-2 in Tuesday’s quarter-final and ease into the semis.
She lost just six games as her efficiency and clinical show of masterclass and court craft kept her in contention for a third appearance in the finals at Rod Laver Arena.
Li took charge of the match against the world number 28 and after racing into a 5-0 lead in the opening set, dropped serve for the first time but went on to close it out.
The second set was, like the first, dominated by the Chinese on her way to winning and keeping hopes of reaching a third final alive, after previously appearing in the 2011 and 2013 edition.
From being on the verge of defeat against Lucie Safarova in the third round, Li said she has recovered and daring to go until the last game of the women’s singles.
“I got a lot of confidence because of being match point down against Sarafova,” she said.
“Finally I came back to win that match and so of course I got a lot of confidence abd believe in mmyself.”
Bouchard (Can) (30) beat Ivanovic (Serb) (14) 5-7, 7-5, 6-2
Canadian Bouchard came from a set down to beat Ivanovic, through to the semis.
Both players struggled to hold serve in the second set, but the 19-year-old capitalised on a medical timeout from the Serb to finish off.
“I did feel confident…I just tried to focus on what I had to do. My game got a bit better as the match went on,” Bouchard said.
On meeting Li in the semi-final, she continued: “She’s a great champion. It’s going to be tough. It’ll be interesting to play her.”