Li Na storms into semifinals at Australian Open

Li Na storms into semifinals at Australian Open

Two-time runner-up and fourth seed Li Na of China beat Italian Flavia Pennetta with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 victory in Tuesday's quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Li was rarely troubled in the one-sided match, completely outclassing her opponent in 67 minutes to reach the final four of the Australian Open after last year's final loss to Victoria Azarenka.

Li, the fourth seed, broke Pennetta in the first game of the match, following up with two more to lead the first set 5-0. The Italian, who stunned No.9 seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, broke back in the sixth game but Li still managed to take the set 6-2.

Then Li took 32 minutes to win the one-sided second set 6-2 by breaking Pennetta another two times.

"I know Pennetta was a tough player because I played her four times before. Every time was like tough," said Li. "I don't know what happened today. Maybe because I try to prepare for the match before I come to the court."

"It was really tough today because I didn't serve well. My serve didn't work the way I would like to," said Pennetta. "I think Li made no mistake at all. I was trying to push, but she was faster and stronger than me today. I tried my best, but she was good."

Li and Pennetta, who is one day elder than the Chinese, tied 2- 2 in their previous four meetings. Pennetta defeated Li 6-2, 7-6(7- 4) in their last meeting in Sydney in 2010.

"In the last year Li improved her game a lot and she's more consistent with her forehand. Her serve is working really good also. She's one of the best players and today she's much better than me in the court," said Pennetta. "I think she is perfect in everything today. I didn't have chance at all."

Pennetta has played the best tennis of her career since returning last year from a wrist injury, which caused her ranking to drop as low as No. 166. Back to the court from injury, the Italian reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open and then her first quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

It will be Li's fourth semifinals in five years at the Melbourne Park. She will play against 30th-seeded Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who stunned No.14 seed and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

Bouchard, who turns 20 next month and is exactly 12-year younger than Li Na, reached her first Grand Slam semifinals in just four appearances. Her previous best result was making into the third round in Wimbledon Open last year.

The absence of top seed Serena Williams opens the draw for Li. Williams was defeated by Ivanovic in the Sunday's fourth round.

Although Li claimed her only major title to date three years ago at the French Open, it is at Melbourne Park where she has performed most consistently at Grand Slam level.

She lost the 2011 and 2013 finals to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka and also reached the Australian Open semis in 2010.

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