Australian Open 2014: Li Na reaches semi-finals with straight-forward victory over Flavia Pennetta
The Chinesewoman's semi-finals opponent will be Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard
Tuesday 21 January 2014
Li Na stayed on course for another Australian Open final appearance with a comprehensive win over Flavia Pennetta in the last eight.
The Chinesewoman has twice been a beaten finalist in Melbourne, most recently losing to Victoria Azarenka 12 months ago.
Fourth seed Li saved a match point against Lucie Safarova in the third round but has been untroubled since and powered past Pennetta 6-2 6-2.
Pennetta, appearing in her first Australian Open quarter-final, at least avoided the ignominy of a love set, saving two set points when Li served for the first at 5-0.
But it was only a brief respite as Li eased into a 4-0 lead in the second set and wrapped up victory in only an hour and seven minutes.
The 31-year-old said: "I've got a lot of confidence because I was match point down, I came back to win the match. I even more believe in myself. I wish I can take one more step this year."
Li's opponent in the semi-finals will be Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who knocked out Serena Williams' conqueror Ana Ivanovic.
This has been a breakthrough grand slam for fast-rising 19-year-old Bouchard, and she was hugely impressive in a 5-7 7-5 6-2 victory.
Bouchard's temperament appears perfectly suited to the big stage and she was not fazed after losing the first set or when Ivanovic took a lengthy injury time-out in the second.
The Serbian's movement certainly went downhill but Bouchard continued to play the same, aggressive game she had from the start and never looked like faltering.
The teenager is the first Canadian to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.
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