Istanbul Profile: Li Na
Published October 18, 2013 12:01
Highlights: Shenzhen (champion), Australian Open, Stuttgart (runner-up)
Grand Slam Highlights: Australian Open (runner-up), Roland Garros (second round), Wimbledon (quarterfinals), US Open (semifinals)
Win/Loss Record: 40-13
Record Against Top 10: 4-8
WTA Championships History: Round Robin (2011, 2012)
For Li, the season begun with a bang, winning in Shenzhen and then reaching the semifinals in Sydney where she lost out to the year's other early pace-setter, Agnieszka Radwanska. She carried this form over to Melbourne, cruising through the draw, taking out Radwanska and Maria Sharapova along the way, and into her third major final.
Here she faced defending champion Victoria Azarenka. The two produced an early contender for match of the season, with Azarenka eventually prevailing in three rollercoaster sets.
The Chinese No.1 recovered well from the setback, reaching the quarterfinals in Miami and then finishing runner-up to Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart. However, her remaining assignments on the dirt did not go according to plan as she suffered early exits at Madrid, Rome and finally the French Open.
In recent years Li has struggled on grass, but at Wimbledon she looked in fine form, negotiating a tricky draw to set up the latest encounter of her ongoing rivalry with Radwanska. On this occasion it was the Pole that prevailed, riding out a storm of Li winners to reach the semifinals.
Just as she had 12 months ago, Li enjoyed a fruitful summer on the cement, reaching the last four at Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open, losing out to the irresistible Serena Williams on two of these occasions, before securing her spot in Istanbul with another deep run in Beijing.
"I'm so happy to have qualified again for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul as one of the Top 8 players this season," Li said after qualifying. "I had a great time in Istanbul last year and I'm looking forward to coming back and playing my best tennis for the fans in Turkey."