Both semi final matches at the Western and Southern Open went the distance on Saturday night, with Li Na overcoming a resurgent Venus Williams; and Angelique Kerber coming out on top in her match against Petra Kvitova.
First up on court were Li and Williams. During the warm up, Williams seemed to tweak her lower back, but she did not call for a trainer. The game got underway with close rallies and fine shot making on both sides of the net, all the way to five all when Venus got the break and she held on to take the set 7-5. She led 2-0 in the second set before Li got her game together again and reeled off seven of the next nine games to take the second set 6-3 and go 1-1 in the decider. It was then that Venus called for a trainer and had some courtside treatment, but she lost her rhythm and Li took full advantage, winning the next five games for the set at 6-1.
In the second night match, Kerber and Kvitova battled a see saw match which saw Kerber come out on top, 6-1 2-6 6-4. Kerber was up 6-1 2-1 before losing the plot and hitting a stream of errors to let Kvitova take the next six games and the second set. The tough German did not let losing the second set so easily get to her and continued to play her hard hitting serves groundies, while the often erratic Czech’s error count started rising, allowing Kerber to take the final set.
It should be a great final on Sunday night, as Li leads their head to head stat 4 to 1, but each player has won one of their last two encounters.