The organisers of the first Shenzhen Gemdale Open being played in China this week will be delighted that one of their own players will battle for the trophy in the final.
Li Na, the world number 7 and top seed, made relatively light work of her match against her countrywoman Shuai Peng, the world number 40 and 6th seed. The first set went Li’s way at 6-4 and then, with the wind in her sails, she completely overcame her opponent in the second set, to win it to love and book her place in the final.
Li will face the 29 year old Czech Klara Zakopalova who ranked at 28 and seeded 5th. Relatively short at 1.66m, Zakopalova is a crafty all court player with great skills at the net; and she has had some good wins against top players during her career. At present, she is just one place above her highest ranking which she achieved in 2006. In her match on Friday she showed the spectators why she is again climbing up the rankings, after having handily beaten second seed Marion Bartoli on Thursday. On Friday she continued her great play and easily dispensed with unseeded Monica Niculescu of Roumania 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour, to ensure her place in the final. Interestingly, Zakopalova leads Li 2-1 in their head to head stats.