Kvitova sets up Li clash in Sydney semi

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova set up a semi-final clash with defending champion Li Na after an emphatic straight sets victory over Daniela Hantuchova at the Sydney International on Wednesday.

The Czech world number two reeled off the opening eight games before dishing out a 6-0, 6-4 victory over the stunned Slovak number 21. Earlier French Open champion and world number five Li beat Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

Petra Kvitova.PIC/AFP

World number one Caroline Wozniacki was due to face Polish seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska later Wednesday with the winner to play third seed Victoria Azarenka.

Belarusian Azarenka downed France's Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-4 in their quarter-final.

Kvitova, who like her next opponent Li has been in top form in preparation for the season's first grand slam in Melbourne next week, swept to victory breaking Hantuchova's service five times for her fourth win over the Slovakian.

Kvitova is on track to face Wozniacki in a possible one versus two in Friday's Sydney final.

Li said she was playing her best tennis since before last year's Wimbledon as she battled into the semi-finals.

The world number five needed one hour 50 minutes to subdue battling Czech Lucie Safarova in blustery conditions to move into the last four in the defence of the Sydney title she won last year.

It was Li's third win this week, continuing her upsurge in form after a dismal follow-up to her landmark French Open success at Roland Garros, which saw her become the first Asian to win a grand slam title.

Li, 29, was clearly relieved to have put her problems of the second half of 2011 behind her and is eyeing back-to-back Sydney finals.

"Of course I'm feeling good," she said. "Win here last year and this year reach the semis in just the beginning of the year, yeah, I am feeling much, much stronger."

Li, who only won seven matches after her French Open breakthrough, said she was back in the form she had enjoyed prior to Wimbledon, where she bowed out to Germany's Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

"Last year before Wimbledon," Li said, when asked the last time she was playing at this level.

"I mean, even in Wimbledon I was feeling I was playing well. But after that I don't know what happened. Didn't work."

Kvitova, who could claim the top ranking within days, was in imposing singles form throughout the Hopman Cup in Perth last week, dropping just one set in her four singles matches on the back of her powerful forehand.

Azarenka, the world number three, said she was not concerned by the attention Wozniacki and Kvitova received as the top two ranked players.

"It's just numbers. I'm really focusing on winning matches and improving my game. With that, the results come, right? So we'll see," Azarenka said.

"If the girls get that attention, I'm happy for them."

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