WTA Championships: Li Na on brink of semi-finals after win over Jelena Jankovic
Last Updated: October 24, 2013 9:05pm
Li Na: needs to take set off Victoria Azarenka to guarantee place in last four
Li Na has one foot in the semi-finals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul but she knows there is still work to be done.
The fourth seed prevailed 6-3 2-6 6-3 over Jelena Jankovic in the first three-set match of the tournament at the Sinan Erdem Dome.
It was Li's second victory from two round-robin games after she also beat Sara Errani, and the Chinese player is now in pole position to qualify from the white group.
A set against Victoria Azarenka on Friday would put her through but a straight-sets loss would leave her extremely vulnerable.
It is the first time in the three years Li has qualified for the year-end championships that she has managed two wins, and she said: "Of course it was tight but at least it is better than the last two years.
"Now I have one foot in the semis but another foot is still out of the door. If I lose easy tomorrow, I already maybe have no chance. So I still have to fight tomorrow."
It was a match of many momentum swings, but Jankovic was always playing catch-up, and after two hours and 11 minutes it was Li who came through.
Li had lost only three games to Jankovic in their most recent clash at the US Open, and it looked like this match might go the same way when the fourth seed won the opening three games.
Jankovic, an impressive winner over Azarenka on Wednesday, fought back to level only for Li to reel off another run of three games to take the opening set.
There was a similar pattern in the second set, but this time it was Jankovic who was the dominant player before they switched again in the deciding set.
Jankovic is still in a good position to reach the last four, though, knowing victory over the already-eliminated Sara Errani in the final match on Friday would definitely be enough.
The Serb said: "Overall Li played a great match. She was hitting the ball so well, and I was up there. I was very close. It was just a few points at the end that made a difference.
"So it's of course disappointing but I still have another match to go tomorrow and hopefully I can do it and give myself a chance to qualify for the semis."
In the red group, Angelique Kerber kept her hopes of reaching the last four alive with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska.
It completed a miserable week for the Polish third seed, who failed to win a set in her three matches.