Toronto, Canada – MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Venus Williams continued her domination of Francesca Schiavone Monday, coming back from a set down to defeat the Italian 3-6 6-2 6-1 and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
Seventeenth seed Schiavone, who had never beaten Williams in five previous matches, looked set to break the trend after taking the first set and an early break in the second.
Williams broke back immediately to steal the momentum, however, and then steamrolled the Italian in the last set with confident net-play.
"She played really well in the first set. I have to give her credit. She just played really aggressively," Williams told reporters. "You know, she was making her shots, doing everything she needed to do to win the match.
"But, obviously it takes a lot to close out a match, especially on an important match like that one.
"I was able just to get some footing back in and start to execute the way I wanted to."
Williams and Li have played each other just once previously, at the Beijing Olympics where the Chinese triumphed 7-5 7-5 in the quarter-finals.
"I guess I don't think of it the same way," Williams said when asked if the loss from the Olympics would help her prepare for the quarter-final.
"I'm really just focusing on the now. I don't make it too complicated.
"She's a very good player. Obviously to beat Wozniacki, you have to play very well consistently (and) I'm sure she did that."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O'Brien)