Li Na Stops Wozniacki, Heading to Australian Open Final

January 27, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Li Na of China celebrates after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their semi-final women's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)
Li Na of China celebrates after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their semi-final women's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)
China’s Li Na will be the first Asian tennis player to compete in a grand slam final, after defeating Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in three hard-fought sets, 3–6, 7–5, 6–3 Thursday afternoon in their semifinal match.

"I'm so happy I can be the first Chinese player to come to a final—I always do the first one!" Li said in the postmatch interview on ESPN.

Li, ranked No. 9, came out hitting hard but missing badly—she had 51 unforced errors in the match. She also hit 42 winners. While Li was not afraid to aim for the edges, Wozniacki seemed to play conservative tennis, never hitting hard, rarely taking chances, waiting for Li to miss rather than hitting a winner herself.

Wozniacki, ranked N0. 1 in the world, came out strong and dominated the match until halfway through the second set, Then, leading five games the three and 40–30, match point, Wozniacki stalled while Li came steaming back with three consecutive service breaks to win the set 7–5.

Li kept getting stronger while Wozniacki looked increasingly fatigued, losing three consecutive service breaks in the final set.

After the match Li showed that she has personality as well as tennis talent. When asked about her tentative start Li replied laughing, “I didn’t have a good evening last night because my husband sleep like [snoring noises]. I was wake up every hour.”

She continued with the humor. When asked what motivated her to come back when facing match point, she said immediately, “Prize money.”

Li Na will face No. 3-ranked Kim Clijsters in the final. Li beat Clijsters 7-6, 6-3 at the Sydney International on Jan. 14, coming back from a 5–0 deficit in the first set.