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China´s Li reaches semi-finals at Shenzhen

- January 02, 2014 - Updated 2243 PKT - From Web Edition

BEIJING: Chinese superstar Li Na battled her way to yet another victory on Thursday, downing Romania´s Monica Niculescu after three action-filled sets in the women´s singles quarter-final of the Shenzhen Open.


Li, Asia´s highest-ranking player in tennis history, opened strongly, besting Niculescu 7-5 in the first set.


The 26-year-old Romanian fought back with a 6-4 win in the second set, before Li toppled her with a third-set, 6-4 victory.


Li, 31, is the defending Shenzhen Open champion and is also the world number three player. Her success has sparked a new Chinese interest in tennis as well as a swell of national pride.

China´s state broadcaster CCTV this week named her rise its number two sports story of 2013.


China notched another victory on Thursday as fifth-seed Peng Shuai soared to victory over Slovakia´s Jana Cepelova 6-3 6-2.


American Vania King bested Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2 6-4, while eight-seed Annika Beck of Germany came back from an initial 3-6 loss to triumph over Austria´s Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the final two sets, 6-3 6-1.


In the semi-final doubles, Niculescu and Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic had their second straight victory of the week, taking down China´s Wang Yafan and Zheng Jie 6-3 6-4. (AFP)

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