MELBOURNE, Australia - Venus Williams was one service game away from reaching the semifinals and a projected matchup with her sister Serena at the Australian Open, until she stumbled in a flurry of errors and lost to No. 16 Li Na.
Li reached a major singles semifinal for the first time with the 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 win Wednesday, giving China two players into the last four of a tennis major for the first time.
Serena Williams, the defending champion, almost joined her sister on the sidelines. Down a set and trailing 4-0 in the second to Victoria Azarenka, Serena bore down and rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory. She will meet the surprising Li in the semifinals.
"Good for both players. Also good for China's tennis," Li said. "Also good for the fans. Thank you."
Li, who had never gone beyond the quarterfinals at a major tournament, needed three match points, eventually converting it with consecutive forehand winners down the line.
The match featured a combined 110 unforced errors, Williams committing 53 of those and had 11 double-faults, including five in the third set.
Andy Roddick also needed a medical timeout because of a sore right shoulder after the first set of his match against No. 14 Marin Cilic. Roddick played on for another four sets, but lost to Cilic, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3. Cilic will meet Murray in the semifinals.