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2005 saw Li finally abandoning the ITF circuit to focus solely on WTA-level events.
By the end of 2000, Li had won four WTA singles matches, this brought her cumulative ITF singles title count up to 11.
In 2000, she won 52 singles matches on the ITF circuit, more than any other player, notching another eight tournament titles, including one at the ,000 level, two at ,000, and a run of four ,000 tournament wins in March and April.
Notable individual victories in the course of the year included wins over Flavia Pennetta, Emmanuelle Gagliardi, Maria Elena Camerin, Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yayuk Basuki. 136 on the strength of her ITF performances alone, she gained direct entry into her first WTA Tour event at Tashkent.
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.