LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Last year’s runner up Agnieszka Radwanska, the highest ranked player left in the women’s draw, moved closer to reaching successive Wimbledon finals after outlasting China’s Li Na 7-6(5) 4-6 6-2 in an epic last eight duel on Tuesday.
The Polish fourth seed, seeking her first grand slam title after losing in three sets to Serena Williams last year, set up a semi-final showdown with German Sabine Lisicki having staved off a Li fightback, the distraction of two rain interruptions and then squandering seven match points.
Former French Open champion Li wasted chances to take the opening set and then after a short rain break, the sixth seed hit back to take the second from 4-2 down as her aggressive strokes to the corners of the court began to penetrate.
But Radwanska, who had her right thigh heavily strapped up before the start of the decider, regrouped under the now-closed roof following a second rain delay.
She secured a double break but having spurned two match points at 5-1 up, and then, astonishingly another five in the next game. With nerves frayed, she could finally lift her arms to the skies as the never-say-die Li went long.
Top seed and five-times champions Williams was beaten by Lisicki in the fourth round on Monday, following chief rivals Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova out of the tournament.
Reporting by Justin Palmer, editing by Pritha Sarkar