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
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Déjà vu: David Tennant returns to familiar territory with Anna Gunn (‘Breaking Bad’)
tvReview: Something is missing in Gracepoint, and it's not just the familiar names
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
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.

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?