Top seed Li Na remains on course to defend her WTA Shenzhen Open title after overcoming a stern test from Monica Niculescu in the quarter-finals.
Cheered on by a partisan crowd in the Longgang Sports Centre, the world No 3 had to dig deep but eventually saw off her Romanian opponent in three tough sets, 7-5 4-6 6-4.
The 31-year-old beat Klara Zakopalova to win the inaugural edition of the tournament 12 months ago and will next face Germany's Annika Beck as she bids to emerge triumphant on home soil again.
Eighth-seeded Beck also needed three sets but came good to record a 3-6 6-3 6-1 victory over Austria's Patricia Mayr-Achleitner.
There was more for home fans to cheer as fifth seed Peng Shuai also reached the last four with a straightforward 6-3 6-2 success over Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.
Shuai will face Vania King in the semi-finals after the American produced an equally impressive performance to defeat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2 6-4.