(Reuters) - China's Li Na won her rematch with Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Thursday.
In their first meeting since this year's Australian Open final, Li once again proved too strong, winning 6-3 4-6 6-3 in a little over two and a half hours.
Li's victory saw her advance safely to Friday's semi-finals, where she will play either Sloane Stephens or Flavia Pennetta.
Li, named top seed in Indian Wells, had battled hard just to reach the quarters and struggled with her serve, committing eight double faults.
Cibulkova also made eight doubles and the pair combined for more than 100 unforced errors as the stakes and tension rose in the deciding third set.
Li got the decisive break late in the third set then served out victory to stay on course for her first title in the Californian desert.
(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York, editing by Alan Baldwin)