Li Na of China celebrates her win over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during the 2013 US Open women’s quarter-final singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, yesterday.
NEW YORK: Chinese fifth seed Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion, advanced to the US Open semi-finals for the first time yesterday with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 victory over Russian 24th seed Ekaterina Makarova.
Li reached a final-four showdown against the winner of the match between 16-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and Spanish 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, .
Meanwhile, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka advanced to the US Open quarter-finals yesterday, beating Serbian 13th seed Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match postponed from Monday due to rain.
The 24-year-old second seed from Belarus took advantage of Ivanovic’s 42 unforced errors and broke the former world number one nine times in the match, winning despite surrendering seven breaks herself and hitting just 21 winners.
Ivanovic had fired 15 forehand winners before Azarenka managed her first.
Azarenka, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s US Open final, will play for a semi-final spot against Slovakia’s 48th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova, with whom she has split four career meetings.
Azarenka, a semi-finalist in five of the past seven Grand Slams, defeated world number one Williams in the final at Cincinnati in the last big US Open tune-up event to become the main threat to dethrone Williams.
Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam winner will try to reach the semi-finals in later matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Neither has dropped a set in reaching the last eight.
Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, made her first Slam quarter-final since her Roland Garros crown at last year’s US Open, but could not duplicate the effort.
After Ivanovic took an early break and served for the first set, Azarenka broke back in the ninth game, using an overhead smash on her third chance, to begin a run of seven consecutive broken serves.
Ivanovic double faulted away a break for her second service game in a row before Azarenka held to end the futility streak but Azarenka broke again in the ninth game to force a third set.
Azarenka broke for a 2-0 lead in the third set but Ivanovic answered with a lob winner to break back in the third game and they exchanged breaks twice more before Ivanovic held to pull level at 3-3.
Azarenka held and Ivanovic was broken again, her backhand wide allowed the Belarussian to serve for the match.
Ivanovic answered by saving two match points in the ninth game, Azarenka sending backhands beyond the baseline and into the net, and broke within 5-4.
But Azarenka broke back for the match, Ivanovic blasting a forehand winner to deny a third match point before netting a back to finally end matters after two hours and 10 minutes.