Li Na defeated Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships and advanced into the title match for the first time in her career where she will meet top-seeded Serena Williams, who advanced with a battle over Jelena Jankovic, one of only two active players with four or more wins over the American. Interestingly, this will be the first season-ending Championships final in which both players are more than 30 years old.
In the first semifinal on the schedule, Li opened with a 3-0 lead in the first set, before allowing Kvitova to win four of the next five games for 4-all. Still, the Chinese broke Kvitova’s serve in the following game and held to take the set. In the second set Kvitova lead 2-1 when Li took control of the match and closed it 6-4 6-2, becoming the first Asian ever to achieve the feat at the tournament.
In the other semifinal, Serena Williams overcame the challenge of Jelena Jankovic, who this week reminded herself of how it feels to be in the top. Both the players won 14 games in the match and had the same winners-to-unforced errors differential (Williams 40-40, Jankovic 22-22), but after several momentum changes throughout the encounter it was Williams who celebrated on her fourth match point, 6-4 2-6 6-4.
In the final Williams will try to win her fourth WTA Championships title. The American leads Li 9-1 in their career meetings, including three straight-set wins this season, the most recent one in the US Open semifinals. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)