Caroline Wozniacki sets up Li Na rematch

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The Independent Online

Caroline Wozniacki will get the chance to avenge her loss to Li Na at last year's Australian Open after ending Francesca Schiavone's brave run in Melbourne today.

Wozniacki lost to the Chinese in the fourth round 12 months ago, but set up a semi-final rematch today thanks to a 3-6 6-3 6-3 defeat of Schiavone, for whom it was one match too far.

The Italian, who needed four hours and 44 minutes to squeeze past Svetlana Kuznetsova in the longest women's match in grand slam history in the previous round, fought valiantly but ran out of gas after a fine start as world number one Wozniacki maintained her bid to land a maiden grand slam crown.

Li had a more straightforward passage, beating Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 20 minutes in the first match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.

Schiavone started well, taking the first set and moving a break up in the second before inevitably starting to tire.

And Wozniacki was happy to take advantage, hitting back from 3-1 down to level it up and take it to a deciding set in which she always held the upper hand - despite some late heroics from the French Open champion.

"It was very difficult," she admitted afterwards.

"Francesca was playing well at the start. It was tough for me to get the right rhythm and I was making mistakes on the important points.

"I just told myself to take one ball at a time and don't give up.

"If you get the chance, you need to take it now, otherwise it's going to be too late."

The Dane, who will retain the number one spot after reaching the semis, believes both her and ninth seed Li have improved since their last meeting.

"I lost to her here last year. She's a really good player and she hasn't lost a match this year yet.

"She won in Sydney and she is on a roll.

"I think Li has improved a lot, but I also believe I have.

"I am going to go in there, fight for every point, and just see what happens."

Schiavone conceded she started to struggle as the match went on.

"I had my chances but in the third set I felt something physically, but it's not an excuse. I think I gave the best I could," she said.

"I am a little bit disappointed, I am a tennis player and always want more especially when I have chances but today I didn't do it.

"But with everything else I am positive.

"I think I have a good chance to keep going, improving and getting good results."

Li simply wore down Petkovic, who was unable to reproduce the blistering tennis she showed in thrashing Maria Sharapova in round four.

Both sets followed a similar pattern, Petkovic breaking early before Li found her range to claw it back.

The Chinese lost to Serena Williams here in the semi-finals last year but claims to be more content 12 months on.

She said: "I think I am playing to the same level but I am certainly happier on the court.

"I am having more communication with the team and everything is happy."

Petkovic believes Li can go all the way and record China's first grand slam singles title.

"I think she played really well and she's going to win the tournament," said the German.

"It's just a feeling, how she is on court, her confidence and the way she is playing.

"Sometimes you get the feeling during a match that someone is really strong and has that aura."