|Li Na faces Maria Sharapova at the China Open 2012 semifinals. (People's Daily Online/Li Zhenyu)|
Li Na, the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title, has had a strong showing at the on-going China Open and managed to set up a mouthwatering clash with Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova in the semifinals today.
The seventh-seeded Chinese dethroned the defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-2 and earned the final singles berth at this year's WTA Championships, which will be held in Istanbul later this month.
On her road to the Last Four, the world No.8 Li came from one set down to defeat compatriot Peng Shuai 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) in a marathon battle following an breezy win over her French Open old foe Francesca Schiavone.
The Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova has also had a serious run. The world No.2 reached the China Open quarterfinals with two straight-sets wins before outclassing Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-0, 3-0 (Kerber retired with a right foot injury) to advance to the semifinals.
Li and Sharapova met 11 times in total on the tennis court, with the former capturing only four victories.