x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Li Na through to Australian Open semi-finals

China's first top 10 player beats Andrea Petovic 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne for the second successive year.

Li Na was too powerful for Andrea Petkovic.
Li Na was too powerful for Andrea Petkovic.

MELBOURNE // Li Na stormed into her second successive Australian Open semi-final, recovering from early stumbles in both sets before convincingly beating Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4 with a ruthless barrage of clean hitting.

Li, China's first top 10 player, was broken in the first game of each set but attacked the German's serve furiously to close out the match in 80 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

Petkovic appeared nervous on her grand slam quarter-final debut and sprayed two forehands to concede the first set.

Serving to stay in the match in the second, Petkovic slapped a forehand long to hand her Chinese opponent victory, Li celebrating the win by yelping "Yeah!" and grinning at her husband and coach Jiang Shan in the stands.

Li will play either the top seed Caroline Wozniacki or Francesca Schiavone for a place in the final.

"It's good for me... second time in a grand slam semi-final always in Australian Open," Li said. "Hopefully I can do better in this year. I don't want to lose in semis again."

The 28-year-old was the only quarter-finalist from the last Australian Open to reach the last eight this year.

She has extended her winning streak to 10 matches this year, including her title run at the tune-up tournament in Sydney, where she became the first Chinese player to win a WTA Premier singles title.