By Benjamin Snyder
Li Na advanced to her fourth final of the season, including her second consecutive Premier-level tournament, after taking out American wild card Venus Williams 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in nearly two hours on Center Court.
The first Chinese woman to claim a major title with a win at Roland Garros in 2011, Li defeated the top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals on Friday to set up the match with Venus, a seven-time major champion.
Li, who lost to fellow Cincinnati semifinalist Petra Kvitova in Monday’s Montreal final, said about her success recently, "Yeah, I know, it's amazing this year, because last two years I never got one point in North America." She continued, "So, yeah, I was happy I can be in the final again."
Venus praised her opponent’s play in a post-match press conference after the loss. "She's really good off the ground. Her whole game is about being consistent and aggressive at the same time. She's being consistent and aggressive, yeah."
Up next for Li is two-time major semifinalist Angelique Kerber, who played later Saturday night against Kvitova. She took out the reigning Montreal champion and the 2011 Wimbledon winner 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. The result improves her three set record to 19-1 this season.
After her match, Kerber said, "Yeah, I mean, for sure right now it's for sure one of my favorite tournaments. I mean, it's amazing to be here in the final."
In doubles, the Wimbledon and Olympics runners-up Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka will play Zheng Jie and Katarina Srebotnik in the first Cincinnati final for both teams. While Hlavackova and Hradecka have recently enjoyed a stellar summer, the combination of Zheng and Srebotnik will be playing for the first title of their partnership.