WTA Italian Open: Li Na beats Samantha Stosur for the first time to reach quarters
Li Na recorded her first-ever win over Samantha Stosur to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA Italian Open on Thursday.
Last Updated: 15/05/14 5:51pm
Li had lost all six of their previous meetings going back to 2007 but prevailed 6-3 6-1 in 68 minutes with five breaks of the 30-year-old Australian's serve.
The 2012 runner-up will next face Italian tenth seed Sara Errani, who beat Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to reach the quarters.
A relieved Li said: "In the last six matches (against Stosur) I tried to control the ball, but she was able to get a lot of chances.
"I'm just trying to focus now on every match I play. Errani will be tough as she will have the crowd on her side and plays well on clay."
Australian Open champion Li is looking for her third trophy of the season as she prepares for the French Open, which she won in 2011.
Ana Ivanovic handed Maria Sharapova her first loss of the spring clay season as she beat the Russian eighth seed in straight sets, 6-1 6-4.
Sharapova had won back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and Madrid, compiling a dozen straight victories.
Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former world No 1, had won just two of 10 previous meetings with the four-time grand slam champion - the last coming seven years ago in a Roland Garros semi-final.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska is also through to the last eight after a 6-4 6-1 win over former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone.
But fourth seed Simona Halep had to withdraw and gave 13th seed Carla Suarez Navarro a walkover.
Serbian sixth seed Jelena Jankovic ended Flavia Pennetta's hopes of progressing on home soil with a 6-2 6-3 triumph.
And China's Zhang Shuai continued her good progress, having knocked out fifth seed Petra Kvitova in the second round, by sealing a 6-2 4-6 6-2 success against American Christina Mchale.