Li Na advanced to the Western & Southern Open final by beating an injury-affected Venus Williams 7-5 3-6 6-1, while Angelique Kerber, who eliminated hot Serena Williams in the quarters, continued to progress, and after ending Serena's 19-0 winning streak, she ended Petra Kvitova's 8-0 stretch with a 6-1 2-6 6-4 victory.
Unfortunately, Venus was not fully fit for the match, as she started feeling back pain shortly before the encounter:
Just in my warmup it was bothering me. I was like 'Oh, no'. I tried to fix it between the warmup and the match, but it didn't work.
Venus piled up five double faults in the first set, including one on a break point to go 3-2 down. She did crawl back to level at 5-5, but Li came out on top in the next two games. In the second set, Venus won five straight games to take the match to the decider, but then rapidly went down in the third set. Venus' serve was limited throughout the match, while in the third set her second serve fell to 63 mph.
In the final Li will face left-handed Angelique Kerber, and she's not looking forward to a lefty, even though she's 4-1 in their career meetings. Kerber prevented Kvitova from winning back-to-back titles, and survived more break points than Kvitova, saving 7 of 11, while Kvitova saved 5 of 10.
Li has remained perfect in 2012 semifinals, 4-0, but is yet to win a final. Kerber, on the other hand, is 2-1 in WTA finals this season, having won Paris and Copenhagen. (sources: Reuters, photos: Moo's Tennis Blog)