Source: Agencies | 2013-1-22 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
SILENCING the voices of doubt that plague Li Na's mind has been mission impossible at times for coaches and her stoic husband Jiang Shan, but the 30-year-old Chinese appears to have finally found harmony on and off the court.
The world No. 6 will play Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for a place in the Australian Open semifinals today, and is relishing being back in the big-time after a year-and-a-half in the grand slam wilderness.
"It's been a long time since I got this far," a jovial Li said in Melbourne.
"You could call this a pass-mark, but there's still a lot of work to be done."
The last time Li reached the quarterfinals at a major was in 2011, when she went on to win the French Open and become the first from an Asian country to win a grand slam singles title.
In the following six majors, the last 16 was as good as it got for trailblazer Li, who struggled to deal with the higher expectations despite the efforts of husband-coach Jiang.
University sweetheart Jiang filled the breach after Li's split with Danish coach Michael Mortensen, who guided her to the French Open win. Jiang has since withdrawn to allow the retired Justine Henin's former coach Carlos Rodriguez take the reins.
The new arrangement has been beneficial for all parties, with Rodriguez helping to quell Li's mental demons, while harmonizing the player's marriage.
"(Jiang) is happier with the arrangement, for sure," said Li.