(6:00pm PST USA time)
women's semifinals only several hours after Venus Williams' game fell apart.
Slamming groundstroke winners and aces reaching speeds of 125 miles per hour, the sixth ranked Venus Williams
routinely overpowered her Chinese opponent, the 16th ranked Na Li early in the encounter to race to a 6-2, 4-2 lead.
Williams would serve for the match at 6-2, 5-4 before her sometimes error-prone forehand would deliver several key unforced errors to send the second set into a tiebreaker.
Two additional Williams groundstroke errors followed by a doublefault resulted in a 4-3 tiebreak lead for Li before the Chinese would strike a forehand crosscourt to level the match at one set all.
Williams regrouped in the final set but would fail once again to close out the match. After taking leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2, the American would drop her serve behind her tenth doublefault to reach 4-3.
Williams would continue her struggle with her errors as she would lose her serve at love following her fatal eleventh and final doublefault to fall behind 5-6.
The American dropped the two hour and 46 minutes match 2-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-5 with 53 unforced errors to only 27 winners.
“I felt really confident going into the match, and, obviously, you know, I felt confident throughout the match, even in the third, I was leading,” Venus Williams said.
“In tennis you have to close it out. It's not like there's a clock ticking and then suddenly it's over. You just have to close it out. I didn't do that today.”
Not long afterwards it appeared as if the top seeded and defending Australian Open champion Serena Williams was also set for a quarterfinal exit as she soon trailed the 7th seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 4-0 in a stunner as Williams had been in top form for her previous Melbourne rounds of play.
But after raising the level of her game and connecting with several key aces, Williams would take 12 of the next 15 games to pull ahead 4-6, 7-6(7-4), 5-1.
Following several more trademark Williams down the line groundstroke winners, the American would close out the match 4-6, 7-6(7-4), 6-2 to advance to a semifinal meeting versus Li.
“I knew if I could just do a little better and make a little less errors; I made a lot. I knew I could be better," Serena said. “But I never really count myself out.”
In the second scheduled women's semifinal for tonight, the former world number one Justine Henin of Belgium is set to meet the surprise semifinalist Jie Zheng of China.