Stosur ousts Li to reach Rome tennis final
Rome: Australian Samantha Stosur stormed into the Rome International final with a straight sets 7-6 (8/6), 6-0 victory over China`s Li Na on Saturday.
It was the 27-year-old`s third straight sets win and maintained her unbeaten record against a player ranked one place above her in the world.
Stosur also reached her first final since the 2010 French Open almost a year ago.
She will play either world number one Caroline Wozniacki or former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova in Sunday`s final.
"They`re two quite different players, Maria`s more aggressive than Caroline," said the Aussie.
"I`ve had a couple of wins against Caroline but I`ve never beaten Maria.
"Regardless of who I play it will be two very different matches, but either way they`ll both be a challenge.
"I`m looking forward to that, I haven`t played a final for a year now, it will be a very exciting day."
The sixth seed got off to a flying start and broke Li in the opening game, working the Chinese wide to her backhand and forcing a short defensive return before steaming up to the net and powering away a forehand winner.
Stosur forced a set point on the fourth seed`s serve at 5-3 but a deep first serve gave Li a short return to put away.
A series of deep crosscourt backhands setting her up for a forehand winner from close to the net saw Li fend off another set point soon after before she held serve.
That proved a vital hold as in the next game Li forced a break point and levelled up at 5-5 when Stosur went wide with a backhand.
The first mini-break in the tie-break went Li`s way when she brought Stosur up to the net with a drop shot and then rasped a backhand pass crosscourt.
But she gave it up immediately with a double fault.
Li brought up a set point with a forehand winner down line but couldn`t take it when she put the same shot into the tramlines on the next point.
Stosur was not so generous when she was presented with a set point moments later, hitting a powerful serve out wide and following it up with a forehand winner.
The world number seven got off to a quick start in the second set as well as Li double faulted on break point in the second game.
And the Chinese player`s game crumbled from there as Stosur cantered through the rest of the set.