Li eases into semi-finals

Li Na stayed on course for another Australian Open final appearance with a comprehensive win over Flavia Pennetta in the last eight.

Li has twice been a beaten finalist in Melbourne, most recently losing to Victoria Azarenka 12 months ago.

Fourth seed Li saved a match point against Lucie Safarova in the third round but has been untroubled since and powered past Pennetta 6-2 6-2.

Pennetta, appearing in her first Australian Open quarter-final, at least avoided the ignominy of a love set, saving two set points when Li served for the first at 5-0.

But it was only a brief respite as Li eased into a 4-0 lead in the second set and wrapped up victory in only an hour and seven minutes.

The 31-year-old said: "I've got a lot of confidence because I was match point down (against Safarova), I came back to win the match. I even more believe in myself. I wish I can take one more step this year."

Li's opponent in the semi-finals will be Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who knocked out Serena Williams's conqueror Ana Ivanovic.

This has been a breakthrough grand slam for fast-rising 19-year-old Bouchard, and she was hugely impressive in a 5-7 7-5 6-2 victory.

Bouchard's temperament appears perfectly suited to the big stage and she was not fazed after losing the first set or when Ivanovic took a lengthy injury time-out in the second.

The Serbian's movement certainly went downhill but Bouchard continued to play the same aggressive game she had from the start and never looked like faltering.


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