Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na both entered the Premier-level Sydney semifinal with perfect win-loss records this season, owing to their title runs in Auckland (Radwanska) and inaugural Shenzhen (Li), but the higher-ranked Pole spoiled Li’s undefeated run, even though it was Li who had led their head-to-head 5-3, including 3-1 last season.
Li battled hard in her last night’s match against qualifier Madison Keys and today she saved seven match points before finally succumbing to tiredness and the top-seeded Radwanska, who was leading the encounter throughout.
On a better note for Li, the WTA has announced that the big Tokyo tournament that will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year will be replaced by an event in Li’s hometown of Wuhan in China in 2014. The tournament will have the prize money of about $2 million.
The other semifinal was between Dominika Cibulkova and second seed Angelique Kerber and Cibulkova prevailed 6-2 4-6 6-3. Even though Cibulkova entered the match with a 2-0 record against Kerber, both those victories happened before Kerber made it big in the tennis world and Kerber was favored for appearance in the Sydney final.
Radwanska has now won eight matches in a row and is 3-0 against Cibulkova, but the peers haven’t faced each other in years, precisely, since 2008! (photos: Ralf Reinecke)