Beijing - Li Na kept alive local hopes of a first homegrown champion in the China Open when she reached the quarter-finals with a tough 7-5, 6-4 win over Sabine Lisicki of Germany on Wednesday.
Also, 2005 champion Rafael Nadal edged Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (3) to move into the third round.
Li broke Lisicki twice in each set, overcoming seven double faults and holding off six of eight break chances.
To equal her previous best efforts in Beijing, the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012, Li will have to beat Petra Kvitova, against whom she has a 3-2 record.
Kvitova beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in a 2 1/2-hour third-round match which featured 19 breaks of serve.
Former champions Agnieszka Radwanska (2011) and Jelena Jankovic (2008) won their second-round matches, but two-time former winner Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Andrea Petkovic of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog ousted Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4 and will play Radwanska for a spot in the last eight.
Nadal and Kohlschreiber traded five breaks of serve in their first set but couldn't break the other in the second and were separated only in the tiebreaker. Nadal won for the 11th time in 12 matches with the German.
Also, Fabio Fognini of Italy, enjoying his career-best year with two titles, routed Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 6-2, and eighth-seeded John Isner also advanced.