China’s Li into Sydney final


China’s Na Li won through to the final of the Sydney International with a straight sets win over Bojana Jovanovski on Thursday.

Li, who will be defending her rankings points from last year’s semi-final appearance at next week’s Australian Open, overcame the Serbian qualifier, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in 1hr 40min.

The eighth seeded Li will be bidding for her fourth career title in Friday’s final against either two-time champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium or unseeded Russian Alisa Kleybanova.

Li trailed after a service break in the third game but traded four service breaks with Jovanovski before breaking the Serb’s serve again in the 12th game to force a tiebreaker.

She won the tiebreaker 7-5 to take the set and controlled the last set with three more service breaks to wrap up victory.

Li became the first Chinese player to break into the world top 10 rankings after reaching the semi-finals of last year’s Australian Open.

She is making her fourth appearance at the Sydney International and reached the 2007 semi-finals where she lost to Clijsters in three sets.

“Australia is always the beginning of the season,” Li said. “So sometimes I do well at the Gold Coast and sometimes I do well in Melbourne and sometimes I do well in Sydney.

“I always do well in Australia. I don’t know why. Maybe because of my winter training back home. So maybe I should move here,” she laughed.