Li rewrites Chinese history in her journey to last eight - Tennis - Sport - The Independent

Li rewrites Chinese history in her journey to last eight

Li Na and Séverine Brémond are the unexpected interlopers in the women's singles quarter-finals here today after making history for China and seeing off a favourite from Japan respectively.

Li, 24, reached the last eight ­ the first Chinese player ever to do so in Grand Slam singles ­ by upsetting the Czech 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Brémond, a 26-year-old qualifier from France, reached her first Slam singles quarter-final with a surprise 7-6, 6-3 win over Ai Sugiyama, the No 18 seed.

Li now faces Kim Clijsters, who made swift work of beating the Polish 17-year-old wild card Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2, 6-2, in 49 minutes. Brémond's next opponent is Justine Henin-Hardenne, who beat Daniela Hantuchova.

Li beat the French Open runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round and she recovered strongly after Vaidisova, who reached the last four at Roland Garros, took the first set.

Before yesterday's result, the best singles showing by a Chinese player was Zheng Jie's run to the French Open fourth round in 2004.

"I'm proud of myself and I'm very proud for my country." She added that it is too early to talk of a Chinese player winning a Slam singles. "I don't know when that will happen, but I think it takes time, gradually, step by step."

Tennis was not her first sport. Badminton was, between the age of six and eight, when she made the switch. She said yesterday that she would probably be more famous now if she had not swapped sports. "Probably I would be a champion, a world champion, if I played badminton."

Asked if she had ever dreamt of winning here, she replied: "I've had this kind of dream, but I have to drop it because the more you expect, probably in return you have more disappointment." At least nobody can accuse her of being overoptimistic.

Sugiyama, who defeated an expected quarter-finalist in the shape of Martina Hingis in the third round, was beaten on serve and from the baseline by Brémond. The Frenchwoman took a marathon first set tie-break 13-11 and broke early in the second set, eventually sealing the biggest win of her career when Sugiyama sent a forehand wide on match point.

"She was serving really fast and a good percentage of first serves," said Sugiyama, who was aiming to reach the last eight here for only the second time in 14 visits.

The other two quarters are as expected from day one. Amélie Mauresmo, the No 1 seed, will meet Anastasia Myskina, while Maria Sharapova will play Elena Dementieva. Mauresmo progressed by beating Serbia's Ana Ivanovic, while Myskina defeated Venus Williams' conqueror, Jelena Jankovic.

Sharapova dropped her first set of the tournament in a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Italy's Flavia Pennetta. "I just didn't feel like I was playing my best tennis. In the end, it all came down to how much I fought," said Sharapova, who took a lengthy toilet break after losing the second set. "It wasn't really about how good or bad I played, or how good she played, because she played extremely well. I just fought deep."

Sharapova took the first set tie-break 7-5, but the fourth seed was immediately 3-0 down in the second set and Pennetta soon levelled the match. The Italian netted a forehand to lose serve for 3-1 in the decider. Sharapova eventually winning with a backhand on her third match point to seal victory.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week