Paris: Sixth seed Li Na became the first Chinese player to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a disjointed 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 defeat of 21-year-old Czech ninth seed Petra Kvitova.
A beaten finalist at the Australian Open earlier this year, Li will play either fourth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus or Russia's Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the last four.
Li was broken in the third game of the opening set when she sent a backhand beyond the baseline and Kvitova then saw off four break points on her own serve to open up a 4-2 advantage.
The Chinese player's erratic groundstrokes prevented her from capitalising on the succession of break point opportunities she procured, and when she double-faulted to gift Kvitova a 5-2 lead, the first set was all but over.
Kvitova continued to frustrate Li in the second set but the Chinese number one finally made a breakthrough by converting her ninth break point of the match with an overhead smash that put her 3-1 ahead.
Li broke again before closing out the set but fell 3-0 down in the decider before fighting back to level.
The 29-year-old world number seven then broke to go 4-3 up when Kvitova was unable to return a plunging crosscourt forehand and closed out victory on her second match point when Kvitova dragged a tired backhand into the tramlines.