Serena beats Li to reach Australian Open final
MELBOURNE: Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams reached the final of the Australian Open when she beat China''s Li Na 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/1) in a thrilling semi-final on Thursday.
The American will now play either Belgian Justine Henin or China''s Zheng Jie in Saturday''s decider after seeing off a tenacious Li in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena.
The 16th seeded Li played superbly and saved four match points before a delighted Williams clinched the semi-final with a booming ace.
The world number one, who came back from the brink of defeat in a gruelling quarter-final against Victoria Azarenka, will be aiming to win her 12th Grand Slam title and her fifth Australian Open.
She is also hoping to become the first player to successfully defend her title since Jennifer Capriati in 2002
In the second semi-final, Justin Henin of Belgium defeated unseeded Zheng Jie of China 6-1, 6-0 to qualify for the final.