China’s Li Na and Maria Sharapova set up a semifinal at the French Open Wednesday as Asia’s finalist at the last Grand Slam moved to within a match of duplicating her effort from Australia four months ago.
Li, seeded sixth, easily controlled Belarus fourth seed Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-2. Seventh seed Sharapova now stands two victories away from completing a career Grand Slam title sweep.
The Russian did not allow the German Andrea Petkovic into the game as she completed a straight forward 6-0, 6-3 defeat.
Li, ranked seventh, continues to set WTA records for China after playing in her sixth quarterfinal at a major.
The Danish-coached player, who was the first from her nation to reach a Grand Slam final, became the fourth Asian to get to the last eight in Paris after Kazuko Sawamatsu, 1975, Kimiko Date-Krumm, 1995 and Yaroslava Shvedova, 2010.
She ended the 56-minute opening set with a break to win it, then secured a 4-2 lead in the second set on her way to the final four.
Sharapova, the Rome champion whose game has come to life in recent months, was competing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since Roland Garros a year ago. Her match with Li will be her second Paris semi after 2007.
The other semifinal was decided on Tuesday, with France’s Marion Bartoli and holder Francesca Schiavone set to meet.