Na Li may not be considered one of the finest clay court players of her generation, but she has the form, and ability, to beat Victoria Azarenka today.
Azarenka, alongside Sharapova, has been the stand-out player on the WTA Tour over the past six months and is the 1/3 favourite to progress into the semi-final and the 2/1 favourite to lift the trophy.
The Belorussian is yet to drop a set in this year’s French Open and has lost just two of her last 13 matches on clay, but she suffered a fourth round Australian Open exit to Li this year and trails the Chinese star 1-3 in head-to-heads.
The two have never met on clay and Li’s clay credentials will be seriously tested today, but after beating Petra Kvitova, many people’s darkhorse to win the French Open, Li will be in confident spirits.
Having already made one Grand Slam final this year Li’s temperament is not to be questioned and the world number seven offers plenty of value at 9/4 to win today.
It is 9/2 that Li takes the victory in three sets and 3/2 that there are exactly three sets in the match.
Azarenka has to be respected and the world number four is 11/4 to win the match 2-1, but the Belorussian has struggled to cross the finishing line on clay this season and this could be the round in which the world number four falls short.
Maria Sharapova or Andrea Petkovic await in the semi-final in the toughest half of the draw, and should Sharapova come through today’s match with Petkovic – read about it here – then she should be favoured to take the title.