Photo: Paul ZimmerLi Na (CHN) - 2013 US Open
Li Na is accustomed to breaking new ground for her country in the tennis world and the 31-year-old Chinese did it again on Tuesday by becoming the first player from her homeland to reach the US Open semifinals.
She ousted Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 64 67(5) 62 to book her place in the last four, where she will meet defending champion Serena Williams.
"I always try to be the first one," Li said after the match. "Of course it was exciting, because first time in semi in US Open. So I was really proud for myself, because is the last Grand Slam for end of the year, but I still fighting a lot on the court to try the best."
Williams also made a little bit of history in winning her quarterfinal against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 60 60. The American became the first woman since Martina Navratilova in 1989 to win a US Open quarterfinal without the loss of a game.
Tuesday also saw one more women's match that had to be completed due to a rain delay on Monday and it proved to be an entertaining encounter between Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic.
The Belarussian prevailed 46 63 64 in a match dictated by breaks of serve and will play Daniela Hantuchova in the last eight on Wednesday.
In the men's draw, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic put in what he described as a "flawless" performance to defeat Spain's Marcel Granollers 63 60 60. The Serbian will next meet Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals, after the Russian battled back to defeat Lleyton Hewitt 63 36 67(3) 64 75.
The Australian twice looked in control of the match, leading 4-1 in the fourth set and 5-2 in the fifth but simply could not close out the victory.
In the other quarterfinal, Andy Murray will play Stanislas Wawrinka. The Brit overcame a spirited performance by Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin to win 67(5) 61 64 64 on a cool and breezy night at Flushing Meadows.
Wawrinka, meanwhile, caused an upset by taking out No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych in four sets to become the first Swiss player to progress further in a Grand Slam than Roger Federer since 2002 Wimbledon.