Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

January 22, 2013

Li Na advances to Australian Open semifinals

(Continued)

 
As Stephens learned earlier this month, though, it's one thing to play with Williams, another to play against the 15-time Grand Slam champion.
 
With a comeback 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over Bojana Jovanovski on Monday, Stephens qualified for her first quarterfinal at a major tournament. Williams has already played at that level 34 times.
 
"It will be tough, obviously. It's quarters of a Grand Slam," Stephens said. "There won't be that, like, first time, 'Oh, my God, I'm playing Serena.' That's kind of out of the window now. So that's good."
 
Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka advanced Monday, losing just four games between them against Russian rivals. Williams beat No. 14 Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-0, and Azarenka defeated Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1.
 
On the men's side, No. 2 Roger Federer and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray stayed on course for a semifinal in their half of the draw.
 
Federer won 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 over big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, advancing to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the 35th consecutive time, while Murray took advantage of Gilles Simon's fatigue for a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory.
 
Federer will face 2008 Australian finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat friend and fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
 
Murray, who ended a 76-year drought for British men in Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the U.S. Open, will next play unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
 
Chardy spent some time in the offseason hitting against Williams in Mauritius, and they're both saying it has helped his game.
 
Williams also played Stephens at the Brisbane International earlier this month, winning their quarterfinal 6-4, 6-3 en route to the title. That night, Stephens said, she "lost to the best player in the world."
 
But there were times in the match when the American teenager was cranky, particularly when Williams unleashed some loud and long "Come ons" to celebrate vital points.

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