China's Li to meet Williams in first WTA final

Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:53pm EDT
 
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By Ece Toksabay

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - China's Li Na will meet Serena Williams in the final of the WTA championships after beating Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4 6-2 on Saturday, becoming the highest-ranked player ever from an Asian country.

Title holder Williams struggled early on with her own game before overcoming Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the other semi-final to set up a clash between two players over 30.

Li's victory means she will climb to third in the rankings and can finish the season on a high in her first WTA Championships final on Sunday.

"It's awesome, because we're both in our 30s and, you know, I think we're both playing the best tennis of our career. We're still getting better," Williams said.

"I personally think I can do better. I'm sure she believes she can as well and it's really good to have a peer right next to you your same age doing just as good, so it feels good."

The 32-year-old world number one, going for fourth title at the season-ending event, was not her usual self during the first two sets, not serving with her customary power and lacking enthusiasm to run for returns.

Williams seemed close to tears at a changeover in the first set yet she went back on court and won eight straight points, but taking the set did not appear to improve her mood and her serves were even slower during the second.

The 14,000 fans who filled Istanbul's Sinan Erdem dome were disappointed by Serena's blues and some even booed her although she had entered court for her match to the loudest cheers.   Continued...

 
Li Na of China hits a return to Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during their WTA tennis championships women's singles semi-final match at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul October 26, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer