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Li into last four

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:22

World number 53 Li, who eliminated top seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the opening round of this hardcourt tournament, beat Safarova 6-3 7-6 (7/3) at the Sierra Madre Tennis Club to put her within reach of a first WTA Tour title in more than two years.

Li, playing her third event of the year after recovering from a knee injury, now faces sixth seed Iveta Benesova, who won the all-Czech quarter-final between and her doubles partner, the unseeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Strycova, who scored a surprise victory over third seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the second round, lost in straight sets to Benesova 7-5 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes.

In the other half of the draw, fourth seed Zheng Jie of China needed 72 minutes to advance to the last four, beating seventh seed Gisela Dulko 6-2 6-2 but the second quarter-final of the night was a much more hard-fought affair.

American qualifier Vania King stole a march on 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, taking the first set 6-2 before the Frenchwoman moved up a gear to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes.

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