Wozniacki rallies, reaches Aussie semis - NBC Sports

Wozniacki rallies, reaches Aussie semis
No. 1 seed survives early pressure to beat French Open champ Schiavone
AP
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki looks up as she leaves Rod Laver Arena after defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their quarterfinal match.
January 25, 2011, 10:01 am

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki reached the Australian Open semifinals Tuesday, surviving intense pressure early against French Open champion Francesca Schiavione before beating the Italian veteran 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Wozniacki will play Li Na, who advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row at Melbourne Park after beating Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 6-4.

The other women's semifinalists will be decided Wednesday when second-seeded Vera Zvonareva plays Petra Kvitova and U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters takes on Agnieszka Radwanska.

Wozniacki rallied from a set and a break down to beat Schiavone and ensure she'd maintain the No. 1 ranking after this tournament.

Schiavone dominated the opening set and a half before the effects of her previous match kicked in. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in a three-set match lasting 4 hours, 44 minutes, a record for a women's Grand Slam singles match.

"Maybe in the third set I felt a little bit something physically, but it's not an excuse," Schiavone said. "I think I gave the best that I could do."

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"She started off really, really well and I didn't feel like I had the right timing," Wozniacki said. "So it was difficult for me in the beginning, but I fought back and I'm so happy that I'm standing here as the winner."

The match point was contentious - first called out by a line judge. An overrule by chair umpire Eva Aseraki forced Wozniacki to ask for a video ruling, which confirmed the initial call that ended the match.

Schiavone knew the match was over even before the replay - "I saw the ball was out, was no chance," she said.

Li, who lost the 2010 semifinal in two tiebreak sets to eventual champion Serena Williams, came to Melbourne after winning the title at a tuneup event in Sydney and is on a 10-match winning streak.

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Li was the first Chinese woman to win a WTA tour event, and the first to enter the top 10. Her run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2006 was the best for a Chinese player in a major at the time. Now her return to the semis is a first.

No Chinese woman has won a major, but Petkovic thinks that can change here.

"I think she played really well. I think she's going to win the tournament," Petkovic said. "She moves very well, she has a great footwork. She takes the ball very early. She plays flat and deep. She has this sneaky aggressive play, I would call it."

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