|Li Na of China celebrates after winning her women's singles third round match against Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic at Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 17, 2014. Li Na won 2-1. (Xinhua/Bai Xue)
MELBOURNE, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Fourth seed Li Na saved a match point and survived a scare from 26th seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to reach her fourth quarters at the Australian Open here on Friday at 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
The two-time runner-up avoided becoming the highest ranked casualty in the first week of the tournament as she saved a match point in the 12th game of the second set and forced a tiebreak, in which the China's No.1 clinched 7-2 to send the match into a decider.
The 2011 French Open champion broke in the eighth game of the third set and then held serve to set up a fourth round clash with Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Safarova made the most of Li's double faults to get a break in the first game then held for a 2-0 lead. Li held her next serve to stay in touch but Safarova pushed Li around and gained another break.
Safarova held for a 5-1 lead and broke again to take the first set 6-1 in 27 minutes, with Li hitting only two winners and making 18 unforced errors in the set.
Safarova served for the match in the ninth game of the third set but Li finally seized the chance to break back and stay in the tournament after wasting two break points.
They exchanged breaks in the final set. Safarova smashed a forehand into the net in the eighth game and put Li in front. And the Chinese served for the match.
"She played very nice in the beginning. Very good and it was tough for me to find the rhythm," said Li. "Every time I play with Lucie, the match is always tough. Because she was pretty good a hitter."
"I was really happy with the way I fight on the court from the first point until the last point," added Li.