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Li Na cruises into Shenzhen tennis final
21:20 AEST Fri Jan 4 2013

Chinese tennis star Li Na cruised into the final of the Shenzhen Open with a straight-sets victory on Friday, putting her in prime position to claim her seventh WTA title.

The world No.7 is the firm favourite to take the trophy on home soil on Saturday when she faces Czech Klara Zakopalova, who is ranked 21 places below her.

The Chinese No.1 and top seed beat compatriot Peng Shuai 6-4 6-0 in one hour and 13 minutes to set up the final with fifth seed Zakapalova, who had earlier defeated Romanian Monica Niculescu.

Zakapalova took just over an hour to claim a 6-1 6-3 victory in her semi-final.

The Shenzhen Open - carrying total prize money of $US500,000 ($A480,000) - is being played for the first time as tennis expands in China on the back of Li's huge popularity.

Li's last singles title was at the 2012 Western and Southern Open in the United States in August - her first since becoming a sporting icon in her country by winning the 2011 French Open.


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