Saturday afternoon saw the first semi-final match in of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships 2013 in Istanbul after the conclusion of the first doubles match between Nadia Petrova /Katarina Srebotnik and Su-Wei Hsieh / Shuai Peng, which was won by the Hsieh – Peng pairing.
Fighting for a spot in the singles final were 4th seed Na Li (Player Profile) and 5th seed Petra Kvitova (Player Profile). Li had won all her round robin matches – against Sara Errani and Vika Azarenka in straight sets but she lost the second set against Jelena Jankovic, while Kvitova had beaten Aga Radwanska in straight sets and Angelique Kerber in a three setter, but lost to Serena Williams in straights. In the head to head stat these two players had each won three matches in the past.
Kvitova began the first set and allowed Li to break and run up an immediate 2-0 lead. The third game went to deuce and advantage many times on both sides of the net until Li finally broke again. Kvitova then got one of the breaks back and held her own serve to trail 2-3. The next two games went with serve and then Kvitova got another break back to level at 4-4, but Li broke yet again and served for the set at 5-4. The Chinese player didn’t allow her opponent to get back into the set this time, wrapping up the set 6-4 in an hour and one minute.
Kvitova served first in the second set and there were breaks in the first two games before Kvitova held her serve. Games then went with serve until Li broke in the fifth game to lead 3-2 and she ran away with the next three games to wrap up the set at 6-2 and book her place in the final.
Li Na will become the WTA’s 3rd ranked player on Monday and is now also the first Asian tennis player – male or female – to reach this ranking.