Li two wins away from Melbourne crown

January 21, 2014
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Li Na is two wins away from ending her wait for an Australian Open title, with Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard standing in her way in the semi-finals.

Fourth seed Li, who had to save a match point in her third round match, eased into the last four with a 6-2 6-2 win over Flavia Pennetta, with the Chinese hoping to go one better than her finals defeats in both 2011 and 2013.

Three years ago Li was edged out in three sets by Kim Clijsters, while 12 months ago Victoria Azarenka prevailed into another three-set tussle.

And Pennetta believes that her conqueror has the game required to take the title in Melbourne, saying after her loss: "I think she's just improved her game a lot. She's really consistent, she's one of the best players.

"She's more consistent with the forehand and her serve, it's working really good also. She's a really good player."

Li is 1.25 to reach the final and 3.50 to do so in three sets, but Bouchard is clearly full of confidence after reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final by defeating the conqueror of Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic.

Having outlasted Ivanovic 5-7 7-5 6-2, Bouchard, who is 4.00 to reach the final, said: "It's not exactly a surprise, I always expect myself to do well.

"I'm just happy to have gone through this step. I'm not done."


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