Sydney: Defending champion Li Na and No. 3-ranked Victoria Azarenka advanced to the semifinals with straight sets wins Wednesday at the Sydney International, a key lead up tournament for the Australian Open.
Li, who reached the Australian Open final last year and then won the French Open, had a 6-2, 7-6 (3) win over Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic. She will now play Petra Kvitova. (Also read: Kvitova battles past Hantuchova)
"Of course I'm feeling good," Li said. "I won in Sydney last year and this year I'm in the semis. It's just the beginning of the year, and I'm feeling much, much stronger."
Azarenka beat No. 9-ranked Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-4 and will next play either No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki or Agnieszka Radwanska.
The two evening quarterfinals were delayed by a power outage at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
In the men's draw, top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro had an easy straight-sets win in his opening match at the Sydney International on Wednesday, while second-seeded John Isner was beaten by fellow American Bobby Reynolds.
Del Potro defeated Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-2 in the second-round match. Reynolds beat Isner 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Denis Istomin of Uzbekistsan also advanced with a 6-2, 6-1 win over American Ryan Sweeting.