On the back of the ranking points accrued through this result, on 4 October 2004, she broke into the WTA top 100 for the first time.
To cap off her most successful year as a singles player yet, she competed in two ,000 ITF tournaments at Shenzhen, winning the first outright to bring her the 19th ITF singles title and 20th overall singles title of her career, but losing in the quarterfinals of the second to lower-ranked country-woman Yan Zi. 80 by the close of the year, a year in which she won 51 singles matches and lost just four.
Prior to this, she had already become the first player representing an Asian country to appear in a Grand Slam singles final, a milestone she achieved at the 2011 Australian Open.
Li was also the runner-up at the 2013 Australian Open and 2013 WTA Tour Championships, a three-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and a semifinalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2013 US Open.
In May 2004, Li returned to competition after having not played since 2002.
Although she was unranked, she won 26 successive matches to notch three further ,000 tournament wins and another ,000 title, increasing her career singles title count to 18, only to have her winning streak finally snapped by Evgenia Linetskaya in the semifinal of the ,000 Bronx tournament that August.
After taking a month off from competition, Li returned at Estoril in late April, defeating Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, Nicole Pratt, Dally Randriantefy, and then crushing Dinara Safina to reach her second WTA Tour final.
He died from a rare cardiovascular disease when Li was fourteen.
Her mother didn't tell Li Na that her father had died for many weeks, thinking it would affect her game.
2005 saw Li finally abandoning the ITF circuit to focus solely on WTA-level events.
She began the year with a second-round performance at Gold Coast and a semifinal showing at Hobart, but losing to fellow Chinese player and eventual tournament champion Zheng Jie.