Li dispatched Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour
in the first quarter-final of the day on Rod Laver Arena to reach
the last four for the fourth time in five years at Melbourne Park.
Novak Djokovic will be out to reach a 15th consecutive grand slam
semi-final when he takes on Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals
later on Tuesday after Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer battle it out
in the first men's match on center court.
Fourth seed Li became a strong favorite to reach her third final in
four years after Ivanovic stunned world number one Serena Williams
on Sunday to blow open the top half of the draw.
Ivanovic, hindered by a hip niggle, was unable to take advantage of
the path she had cleared to the final, however, and instead Bouchard
will take on 31-year-old Li after prevailing 5-7 7-5 6-2 in the
"It's not exactly a surprise," said the confident 19-year-old, the
first Canadian to reach the last four in Melbourne.
"I always expect myself to do well. I'm just happy to have gone
through this step. I'm not done. I have a match on Thursday. I'm
just looking forward to that."
Serbian Ivanovic had looked on course for a first grand slam
semi-final since her 2008 French Open triumph after clinching the
first set in 47 minutes.
But Bouchard charged straight back into the contest, breaking to
lead 3-1 in the second set and holding her nerve to break again to
level the match when Ivanovic double-faulted.
"I tried to show I was calm. I did feel confident," Bouchard said.
"Having lost the first set, I just tried to focus on what I had to
do during the point to try to win, really just try to keep pressing
her and moving forward.
"I felt like my game kind of got a bit better as the match went on.
I feel like in the first set I was close, but I was kind of missing
shots just by a little bit ...
"I felt like my game was there and I just needed to relax a little
bit and play."
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Ivanovic tried to wrest back the momentum but as much as she
ramped up her formidable forehand, there was no putting this
particular Genie back in the bottle.
Cheered on by "Genie's Army" — the band of young Australians who
reward her with a cuddly toy after every victory — Bouchard was
a match for everything the 14th seed threw at her and sealed
victory after two hours and 24 minutes.
"I was emotionally a little bit flat," admitted Ivanovic. "I was
lacking a little bit aggressiveness that I had in my previous
"I think she has very bright future in front of her. She's very
aggressive player. It's sometimes very hard to read her game.
There is no really patterns like with other players you have.
She's a great mover."
Bouchard lost her composure only when she was asked in her
on-court interview who she would most like to date, giggling as
she declared a liking for pop star Justin Bieber.
Li's victory was, by contrast, a 67-minute stroll on another
cool morning by the banks of the Yarra River as she blasted her
28th-seeded opponent off the court with a strong first serve and
barrage of powerful ground strokes.
After her victory, Li entertained the crowd on Rod laver Arena
with another of the interviews that have made her a firm
favorite at Melbourne Park — this time about how she would never
smash a racket as she considers them friends.
It was left to her fellow 30-something Pannetta to assess the
world number four and former French Open champion's form.
"I think she's just improved her game a lot," said the Italian,
who was 2-2 in career meetings with Li going into Tuesday's
"She's really consistent. But she's one of the best players.
Today she was much better than me in the court.
"In the last year, she has improved her game a lot. She's more
consistent with the forehand. And her serve, it's working really
good also. She's a really good player."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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