Shenzhen (China), Jan 3 (IANS) Chinese tennis icon Li Na, the World No.3, and compatriot Peng Shuai entered the WTA Shenzhen Open singles’ semifinals here.
The 31-year-old Li, the defending champion, will face eighth-seeded German Annika Beck, while fifth seed Peng will take on the unseeded Vania King of the United States, who knocked out World No.7 Sara Errani in the round of 16, reports Xinhua.
Li needed three sets to advance, defeating Romanian Monica Niculescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
“I had to work hard to find my rhythm and play well against an opponent with such an unusual style of play,” said Li, who had no complaints about such a tough match at this point in the season.
“I need to play these kinds of matches before the Australian Open, this way I can make the necessary adjustments and increase the belief in myself.”
Peng Shuai took just 66 minutes to dismantle her opponent, Jana Cepelova from Slovakia. Peng repeatedly closed to knock winning volleys and fearlessly changed direction to make winners with ease.
“I was not so nervous as I was in my other two matches so far. Although I’d never played Cepelova before, I played better than my other matches here. When my coach came out on the court, he just told me to keep doing what I was doing and that I didn’t need to change much.” said Peng.