Victoria Azarenka and Li Na both came from a set down on Thursday afternoon to win their respective semifinals at the Apia International Sydney.
With the win, Li has ensured there’ll be no change to the women’s world No.1 ranking until at least the Australian Open, denying Kvitova a shot at the title..
Li, her country’s sole grand slam winner after claiming last year’s French Open crown, recovered from a set and a break down to beat the Czech 1-6 7-5 6-2.
With current world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki’s loss in Wednesday’s quarter-final to Agnieszka Radwanska, the door was left open for Kvitova to assume the mantle of the top player in women’s tennis – assuming she won the Sydney title on Friday night.
But Kvitova was tripped up at the penultimate hurdle by the world No.5.
Later in the afternoon, Azarenka, the No. 3 seed, won 1-6 6-3 6-2 over Radwanska.
After being outclassed for a set and a half, Li suddenly bounced back from 1-3 down in the second set to draw level before snatching a break in the pivotal 11th game and then going on to serve out the set.
The deciding set was mostly one-way traffic.
Li enjoyed an early break before the Wimbledon champion had a brief sniff to get back into the contest with a break point at 2-3.
But after Li consolidated her break she took out the next two games and the match.
Li is no stranger to a comeback on centre court in Sydney having recovered from 5-0 down in the first set of last year’s final to beat Kim Clijsters in straight sets.
She will play the winner of the Radwanska-Victoria Azarenka match next on centre court in the title decider.