Sunday, January 24, 2010

Venus Williams and Li Na go to Australian Open quarterfinals

Though she lost the first set, 6th seed Venus Williams was able to come back and defeat 17th seed Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 today in the round of 16 at the Australian Open. Williams had problems with her serve in the first set, and Schiavone used her signature slice and spin to advantage. But as the match went on, Williams lifted the level of her game, and Schiavone became error-prone, missing several key opportunities to break her opponent.

Williams' opponent in the quarterfinals will be 16th seed Li Na, who defeated U.S. Open finalist and 4th seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3. Li is a big hitter and very talented hard court player who has been repeatedly hampered by serious injury, and who also has some issues with mental fragility. She tends to make a lot of unforced errors, and in today's match, she wound up with 34 unforced errors and 21 winners. Technically speaking, that isn't great, but when you consider that her opponent had 22 unforced errors and 3 winners, the ratio stat takes on a different meaning.

Wozniacki's thigh was heavily strapped, and she took a medical time-out, but said later that she was not in pain.

Li also defeated Wozniacki in the first round in Sydney this month. Li and countrywoman Zheng Jie have both reached the quarterfinals, creating yet another milestone in Chinese tennis.

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