Li Na could finish a career-high No. 3 in the rankings if she goes undefeated and makes the final, or if she wins the title. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL — Li Na beat Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 at the WTA Championships on Thursday to remain undefeated in the White Group and boost her chances of making the semifinals.
Dictating play for much of the match, Li battled through her own frustration to overcome Jankovic’s scrambling defense and improve to 2-0 in round-robin play. Though she served at 70 percent, Li was broken five times due to a particularly ineffective second serve.
In the face of Jankovic’s aggressive return, Li converted just 30 percent of her second-serve points (7 of 23) and had to rely on her own return game to do damage. Li earned 21 break points and converted six, and she got 82 percent of her returns in play. Li converted 19 of 23 net points, but confessed it was a mental struggle to get herself to the net when the match got tight.
“If I try to always stay on the baseline, maybe I need [to run more] today,” Li said. “[A] couple [of] points I try to come to the net. I was like, OK, continue. But when the nervous time [came], I was, like, [play it safe], stay [on the] baseline.”