Safarova started the tournament at 155.
"It's amazing for me, I'm so happy I can't explain it," said Safarova, who saved four match points in her second round match against Michaella Krajicek.
"Always when you go into a tournament you try to win it but I wouldn't have been mad at myself if I had qualified and done one round."
Safina suffers humiliating loss to Li
Although she lost, Li will become the highest ranked Chinese player in history at 35, surpassing Li Feng who reached 36.
"I hope to improve my ranking even more," said Li.
"I made too many mistakes and didn't have a feel for the game."
Qualifier Safarova advances in Estoril
Pennetta's clay run come to an end