Chinese boasts two women in Melbourne quarter-finals

Considering China’s huge investment in tennis over the last decade it has taken the world’s most populous country time to make its mark in singles competition. Chinese women have enjoyed some success in doubles, but in the more competitive world of singles it has been harder to achieve.

There are still no men capable of competing at the highest levels, but in the women’s game the Chinese are gradually making their mark. Here at the Australian Open China will have two players in the last eight of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time after Li Na today joined Zheng Jie in the quarter-finals when she beat Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s US Open runner-up, 6-4. 6-3.

Wozniacki, the No 4 seed, is one of the most promising players on the women’s tour, but the Dane never looked at her best here. She had her thigh heavily strapped when 3-1 down in the second set and was not moving well. Without any big weapons to her game, Wozniacki relies on her athleticism and stamina to wear down most opponents.

It was not a match of the highest quality. Both players struggled to hold serve, but once the big-hitting Li had taken a 2-0 lead in the second set she always looked the more likely winner. Wozniacki still had her chances, but at 5-3 Li served out for the match, securing victory on her second match point when Wozniacki hit a forehand long.

“I was playing aggressively today,” Li said. “I know she's good player. I also played her last week in Sydney. It was a tough match. I knew that if I gave her a chance maybe she would beat me. I was trying to hold on in every point. I didn't want to give her a chance.”

Li now meets Venus Williams for a place in the semi-finals after the American beat Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. They have met just once before, when Li won 7-5, 7-5 in the quarter-finals at the Beijing Olympics two years ago.

"She's a very good player,” Williams said. “Obviously to beat Wozniacki, you have to play very well consistently. I'm sure she did that.”

Li said she did not remember much about her Beijing victory. “It was good experience for me, for my tennis, but I just want to forget it because now I have to play her again,” she said. “I just want to look forward.”

How did Li explain China’s current success? “Because we are working so hard. Actually in China we also have good men players, but right now they don’t have a high ranking so they always play in small tournaments. But I still believe that within three years we’ll be seeing some successful Chinese men.”

Zheng, who partnered Yan Zi to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon doubles titles three years ago, says that public interest in tennis and Government support for the sport is growing in China.

”It's increased significantly from four or five years ago,” she said. “Even when it comes to media interest, corporate sponsors — in every aspect, there is a deeper interest and understanding in tennis.”

She added: “There needs to be a process. After all, the development of tennis in China didn't start as early as it did in foreign countries. But I think people can see the improvement in our ranking in the last few years. They can see more Chinese players active on the tennis scene. So I think there will be a top 10 player from China. It's a matter of sooner or later. But it will take some time.”

Suggested Topics
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own