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Rediff.com  » Sports » Li reaches Gold Coast final

Li reaches Gold Coast final

January 05, 2008 06:38 IST

China's Li Na continued her giant-killing run at the Australian Hardcourt Championships on Friday, beating fourth seed Patty Schnyder 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the final.

Schnyder had beaten former world number one Amelie Mauresmo in the previous round, but she was worn down as Li reached her first final in 20 months, where she will play Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

World number 29 Li had beaten top seed Nicole Vaidisova on her way to the last four but looked in trouble when she dropped the first set to Schnyder.

But the Chinese, who missed the second half of 2007 because of a stress fracture to her rib, hit back to level.

The third set contained nine breaks of serve but Li broke for 6-5 and then held her nerve to clinch victory after one hour, 48 minutes.

"I feel stronger mentally," Li said. "A new Li Na has come back. I feel fresh."

The 18-year-old Azarenka, ranked 30, upset fifth seed Shahar Peer 6-4, 6-2 to reach her third WTA Tour final.

Peer had saved five match points in beating defending champion Dinara Safina to get to the semi-finals.

But the effort in getting past the Russian took its toll on the Israeli and Azarenka took full advantage to win through in 68 minutes.

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