Li Na defeated Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a rematch of their Australian Open final, moving the Chinese star into the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.
Li, who beat Cibulkova to win her second Grand Slam title in January, dropped her first set in four matches on Thursday while improving to 15-1 this year. Li is playing her first major tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Sloane Stephens, the lone American woman left in the field, plays Flavia Pennetta later Thursday, with the winner advancing to face Li in the semis. No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep meet in the other semifinal Friday.