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Another world-class tennis tournament, another semifinal appearance for a Chinese player. Li Na (李娜) pulled off a huge upset and kept China's tennis singles medal hopes alive when she beat Venus Williams (USA)—7-5, 7-5—Thursday night in Beijing. Li, ranked 42nd in the world, dropped the Wimbledon champion and 8th ranked player in two sets.
Li came back from a 4-1 deficit to force and win a tie break in the first set. She carried that momentum into the next set, going up 3-1. Venus fought back to take three sets in a row and a 4-3 lead, but couldn't hold on to her lead. The win puts Li into the semifinals, where she will face the winner of a match between Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) and Dinara Safina (Russia).
With her win at the 2006 Australian Open, Li became the first woman from China to win a WTA singles event. Since then, she has three third-place finishes in Grand Slam events.
Li is the last woman standing among China's four entries in the tournament. Zheng Jie (郑洁), hot off a run to the Wimbledon semifinals, lost in the third round of the singles tournament to Russia's Safina (6-4, 6-3), the sixth ranked player in the world.
Zheng gets a chance to avenge her loss when she and Yan, face Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the doubles quarterfinal on Friday, August 15. The Chinese pair got there by beating a Swiss duo, 6-3; 7-6(2).
On the men's side, China has been much less competitive. Xu Xinyuan, Sun Peng and Zeng Shaoxuan all lost in short matches—55 minutes for Xu, 1 hour 6 minutes for Zeng and 1 hour and 7 minutes for Sun. Zeng and Xu also played doubles, losing in the first round.