Li Na into semis with easy win over Pennetta

03:52, Jan 21 2014
2014 Australian Open gallery
VENUS WILLIAMS: bowed out early in the first round.
2014 Australian Open gallery
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: celebrates her surprise win over Venus Williams.
2014 Australian Open gallery
DAVID FERRER: won through to the second round.
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NOVAK DJOKOVIC: got a first round win over Lukas Lacko.
Novak Djokovic
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shirt changes likely common at this year's Australian Open.
Serena Williams
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Marcos Baghdatis
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: shows flexibility's important for a pro tennis player.
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CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: celebrates winning her first round match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
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MILOS RAONIC: serves on an outside court with the Melbourne city skyline in the background.
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ANDY MURRAY: had a comprehensive win in his first round match against Japan Go Soeda.
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MARINA ERAKOVIC: hits a forehand during her first round match with Sorana Cirstea.
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SERENA WILLIAMS: untroubled in the second round match.
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NOVAK DJOKOVIC: hits a forehand during his second round match with Leonardo Mayer.
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Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Alize Cornet.
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Roger Federer has won through to the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets.
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Li Na in quarterfinal action against Flavia Pennetta.
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Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.
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Agnieszka Radwanska is through to the Australian Open semifinals.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Agnieszka Radwanska, left, shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka after their quarterfinal.
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Grigor Dimitrov, left, and Rafael Nadal speak at the net after their epic last-eight clash.
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Roger Federer reacts after match point against Andy Murray.
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Li Na celebrates her semifinal win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Rafa Nadal
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Roger Federer
Roger Federer heads to the Australian Open exit.
Li Na
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Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova
Runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and champion Li Na during the trophy presentation.
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Dominika Cibulkova pumps her fist after winning a point in the Australian Open final.
Li Na
Li Na stretches for a two-handed volley in the women's final.
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Stanislas Wawrinka reaches for a forehand during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka kisses the Australian Open trophy after his first grand slam victory.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka sits with the Australian Open trophy at the post-final press conference.

China's Li Na wasted little time in advancing to her fourth Australian Open semifinal with a seemingly effortless 6-2 6-2 demolition of Flavia Pennetta.

The 31-year-old, who has reached two of the last three finals at Melbourne Park, blasted the 28th-seeded Italian off the court in 66 minutes with a strong first serve and barrage of powerful ground strokes.

The fourth seed has raced through the last two rounds at the season-opening grand slam after almost being knocked out by Lucie Safarova in the third round when she had to fight off a match point.

She felt that victory had given her confidence she could win her first title at Melbourne Park.

"I have a lot of confidence because I was a match point down and I came back to win the match," Li said. "I have a lot of confidence, or belief in myself to do well.

"I wish I could do one more step this year."

Li, who has become a favourite of the Melbourne Park crowd in recent years, revealed why she does not vent her frustration by smashing racquets during matches.

"I feel the racquet is my friend," she said in a courtside interview on Rod Laver Arena, "... she is with me on the court all the time so I have to be friends with her and she can be nice to me."

Pennetta tried to stem Li's momentum by changing her racquet late in the second set but it was to no avail.

The damage had been done earlier in the match with her service game falling apart. She won just 25 of 54 points on her own serve in the entire match.

Her lack of accuracy, with less than 40 percent of her first serves going in, allowed Li to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the first set and 4-0 in the second.

Li clinched victory with a forehand winner to set up a semifinal against either 14th seed Ana Ivanovic or Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, seeded 30th.

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Li Na
TOO EASY: Li Na celebrates her quarterfinal win over Flavia Pennetta.

Reuters