Li, King reach Shenzhen semis

Updated: January 2, 2014

Shenzhen, China ( – Top seed and defending champion Li Na
of China and surprising American Vania King were among Thursday’s quarterfinal
winners at the $500,000 Shenzhen Open tennis event, a hardcourt
Australian Open tune-up.

The 31-year-old Li snuck past game Romanian Monica Niculescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-4,
while the 24-year-old King straight-setted Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
6-2, 6-4 at Shenzhen Longgang Tennis Center.

The 2013 Aussie Open runner-up Li will encounter eighth-seeded German
Annika Beck in Friday’s semifinals, while King will take on fifth-seeded
Chinese Peng Shuai. Wins by Li and Peng would produce a popular all-Chinese
final on Saturday.

Two other quarterfinals saw Peng paste Slovak Jana Cepelova 6-3, 6-2 and
Beck overcome Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

The world No. 3 former French Open champion Li won last year’s inaugural
Shenzhen title by beating Czech Klara Zakopalova in the finale.