The unseeded Li won her first match against Saina in three meetings here at the SK Handball Stadium. Li won 21-14, 15-21, 21-12 in 59 minutes, preventing Saina from bettering her record in the tournament where she also lost in the quarterfinal in 2012.
Both players started aggressively in the first game winning equal number of points till 8-all. Thereon, the World No 26 put her foot down and clinched the game with the help of some clear winners.
India’s third seed fought back in the next game to level the match. Her smashes and deft touches at the net helped her at the crucial junctures. In the third game, though Li went into a healthy lead at the beginning (12-5), the Hyderabadi climbed back into the match and narrowed the scoreline down to 13-11.