With Li Na easily getting past an injury hobbled Victoria Azarenka, which not only sent Li Na into the semifinals of the 2013 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships but also automatically advanced Jelena Jankovic, which meant she need not exert herself trying to beat Sara Errani, the final intrigue was who would emerge from the Petra Kvitova-Angelique Kerber showdown and join Li Na, Jeca, and Serena Williams in advancing. Petra came out with her racquet on fire, jumping out to a 4-1 lead and looking unstoppable. But…as a card carrying Kvitova fan, I knew what was coming. As well as she can look for a period of time is offset by head-scratching lulls. Give Angelique credit for fighting back to take the first set in a tiebreak. In the end, Petra pulled it together in time to control the last two sets and win, 6-7 (3) 6-2 6-3.
And so the final four is Serena Williams (winner of the Red Group), Li Na (winner of the White Group), Jelena Jankovic and Petra Kvitova. To be honest, with Vika’s 1-5 record in her last 6 matches and Maria Sharapova’s injuries wiping out her fall season, these four are truly the strongest players over the last month and a half. Li Na will take on Petra Kvitova in the first semifinal with Serena Williams facing Jelena Jankovic. If Li Na reaches the final, she will set a new record for the highest ranking in singles of any Asian player, male or female, by reaching the #3 spot. Currently, she is tied with Kimiko Date-Krumm for the highest ranking ever, with both having been ranked #4 in the world. I am sure just getting by Petra is her biggest concern, but it would be a special achievement for a player who has often been the first Asian or Chinese player to reach several career milestones.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2013
|17:00||ROUND ROBIN|| NA LI (CHN)||d|| VICTORIA AZARENKA (BLR)||| 6 – 2 | 6 – 1 ||
|19:00||ROUND ROBIN|| PETRA KVITOVA (CZE)||d|| ANGELIQUE KERBER (GER)||| 6 – 7 | 6 – 2 | 6 – 3 ||
|21:00||ROUND ROBIN|| SARA ERRANI (ITA)||d|| JELENA JANKOVIC (SRB)||| 6 – 4 | 6 – 4 ||
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2013
|13:00||–||NADIA PETROVA / KATARINA SREBOTNIK (RUS / SLO)||V|| SU-WEI HSIEH / SHUAI PENG (TPE / CHN)|
|15:00||–|| NA LI (CHN)||V|| PETRA KVITOVA (CZE)|
|17:00||–|| SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)||V|| JELENA JANKOVIC (SRB)|
|19:00||–|| SARA ERRANI / ROBERTA VINCI (ITA / ITA)||V||EKATERINA MAKAROVA / ELENA VESNINA (RUS / RUS)|
1. Li Na (3-0 : 6-1)
2. Jelena Jankovic (1-2 : 3-4)
3. Victoria Azarenka (1-2 : 2-4)
4. Sara Errani (1-2 : 2-4)