Li, Pennetta into Indian Wells semis
Indian Wells, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - In a rematch of January's Australian Open final, Li Na once again beat Dominika Cibulkova, this time to reach the semifinals at the $5.9 million BNP Paribas Open tennis event.
Their quarterfinal affair on the hardcourts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden saw the top-seeded world No. 2 Chinese star hold off the 12th-seeded Slovak, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, in 2 hours, 36 minutes. Li is now 6-0 lifetime against the diminutive Cibulkova.
The 32-year-old Li is off to a brilliant 17-1 start this year and seeking a third title in four tournaments.
Her semifinal opponent will be 20th-seeded Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta, who outlasted 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens in a tight three-set battle as well.
Stephens took the second set and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third before Pennetta won six of the final seven games to pull out a hard-earned 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory.
The other semi will pit second-seeded Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska against sixth-seeded rising Romanian Simona Halep, a winner of nine of her last 10 matches, including a recent title in Doha.
03/14 07:41:22 ET