| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

China's Li Na defeated Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals of the Sydney International with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 three-set win on Thursday. Kvitova needed to be victorious at this tournament in order to knock Caroline Wozniacki out of the number one spot atop the WTA rankings prior to the Australian Open.

Li put up a strong fight and has now gained her final position to defend her previous title last year. Li had a rough ending to 2011, not making it past the first few rounds in the last two Grand Slams of 2011; however, she has proven her increased ability this week in Sydney.

"I'm back and I am feeling stronger, not only in my body but also in my mind," Li said. "It was a big win for me today against Petra, especially after she won Istanbul (the WTA Championships) and the Hopman Cup."

The men's quarterfinals saw Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus defeat the top-seeded Spaniard Juan Martin del Potro 7-6, 6-4. He will now go on to play Julien Benneteau of France, who defeated Russia' Alex Bogomolov Jr. to advance.