Serena Williams, the No. 1 seed and top-ranked player inthe world, survived a scare in Wednesday's quarterfinals at the SonyEricsson Open. She struggled early, but defeated China's Li Na 4-6,7-6(1), 6-2.
"I'm a little disappointed," Williams said. "I don't think I playedgreat, but I'm glad to have gotten through."
The victory preserves the potential for a matchup with her sister,Venus, in the semifinals. It would be the sister's 20th career meeting,with Venus up 10-9. The two-time defending champion is still alive toclaim a record sixth tournament title, which would pass Steffi Graf.
"I'm always going to be up for V, because she's playing really well andalways playing me super tough," Williams said. "I feel like playing herit's like I have to automatically be on a different level because she'salready playing on a different level."
Li, ranked 40th, took control of the match quickly, taking the firstfive games against a sleepy Williams. Always the fighter, Williamsstormed back to win the next four game, but Li claimed the first set.Li, 27, had Williams on the ropes several times in the second set. Shehad two break points that would have given her a 5-4 lead and anotherbreak point with the opportunity to go up 6-5, but she couldn't convert.She was 0-6 in break points in the second set.
"I mean, she was so strong on the court," Li said. "I have chances inthe second set. I have like maybe six or seven breakpoint, but I didn'thold for one point. She just like - she didn't gave me any chance."
Williams took control in the second set tiebreaker as Li littered thepurple court with six errors. From there she was on cruise control and aprobably date with big sister, who plays Czech Iveta Benesova tonight.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times