Li edges past Cibulkova

Top seed Li Na prevailed 6-3 4-6 6-3 in her Australian Open rematch with Dominika Cibulkova to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The world No 2 had won all five previous matches against Cibulkova, most recently in the final in Melbourne, where she secured her second grand slam title.

On that occasion Li was a convincing winner, not dropping a game in the second set, but things were very different in California on Thursday.

The Chinesewoman made a good start and took the opening set but her forehand lost its radar in the second and Cibulkova raced into a 5-1 lead.

Li recovered three games but could not salvage the set and looked increasingly frustrated as the decider became a dogfight.

But she found her form just in time to win the final three games and clinch victory in a little over two and a half hours and book a last-four clash against either American Sloane Stephens or Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

Li, whose only previous appearance in the semi-finals in Indian Wells was in 2007, is looking to close the rankings gap to world number one Serena Williams, who once again boycotted the tournament.