Li Beats Wozniacki, Cibulkova Awaits

Li Na blasted 31 winners to beat Caroline Wozniacki in a tight two-setter at the Sony Open Tennis on Wednesday night. Awaiting her in the semis: Dominika Cibulkova.

Published March 26, 2014 12:14


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MIAMI, FL, USA - Li Na hit through a rock solid Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open Tennis on Wednesday night, edging her in a very tight two-setter under the lights, 75 75.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Miami right here on wtatennis.com!

There were lots of twists and turns. The first set was particularly streaky - Li burst out to a 4-1 lead, Wozniacki won four games in a row to go up 5-4, then Li won three games of her own to take the set. The second set had some drama as well, as it looked like the No.11-seeded Wozniacki was going to push it to a third after going up 5-3 - but the No.2-seeded Li finished fast with four games in a row.

In the end, though, there was one major theme: Li was by far the aggressor. She hit more than twice as many unforced errors as Wozniacki (49 to 23) but more than six times as many winners (31 to 5).

"I was playing more aggressively tonight," Li said in her on-court interview after the match. "But I also just saw the information on the TV screen up there - I had a lot of unforced errors in the match.

"But thanks to everyone for coming here to support us. I'm looking forward to the semifinals."

In her press conference, Li talked more about her strategy for playing the former World No.1.

"Today it felt like I was playing the best defender on the tour - I felt like I was playing against a wall," Li said. "It doesn't matter where you hit the ball, she's always putting the ball back in the court.

"After the match was finished I felt like, 'Wow, you did well. You beat a wall. Yeah.'"

Awaiting Li in the semifinals will be No.10 seed Dominika Cibulkova, who beat No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in an absolute nail-biter earlier in the day in her quarterfinal match (read more here).

"She's a tough opponent," Li said. "It'll be a replay of the Australian Open final, but this will be different. The last couple of months we've both improved a lot, and it'll be a very tough match tomorrow."

Speaking of the last few months, Li and Cibulkova share a feat no other player on the WTA has achieved so far this year - they both got their WTA-leading 20th match wins of the year on Wednesday.

Li has beaten Cibulkova in all six of their previous meetings.

"It means we're both doing well, otherwise we wouldn't be playing each other so much, right?" Li said. "But yeah, it's going to be another tough match. It's a different tournament and a different feeling.

"We'll just have to see who can be better on the court tomorrow."

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