This was Sara Errani's first-career victory against Li Na; the two had met six times previously. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
ROME -- Sara Errani will give the home crowd someone to cheer for this weekend after defeating No. 2 Li Na 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals at the Italian Open. The win was Errani's first in seven tries over Li and just the second top five win of her career.
Looking sluggish and out of rhythm, Li told reporters she got sick less than 20 minutes before the match.
"Before I came to the court I already threw up," she said. "I don't know if it's because of the pasta or because the allergies made me sick because everywhere I've been sneezing [this week]. It's never stopped. I really have no idea the reason why I throw up."
She didn't play her best tennis, but Li still had her chances. She earned 14 break opportunities and converted just five against the weaker-serving Italian. Errani fared much better, breaking Li's serve eight times. The Italian played suffocating defense and drew 52 unforced errors off the Li racket.
"The feeling is like after you're drunk," Li said, when asked how the illness affected her play. "You come to the court and you react to the ball always late. You cannot really focus and stay there."
With two clay tournaments under her belt, Li will return to her European training base in Munich, Germany before heading to Paris next week.
"Maybe I'm sick of pasta," she joked. "The Chinese stomach is a little bit different."
Errani will face either Agnieszka Radwanska or Jelena Jankovic on Saturday.