Li shocks Sharapova to reach Australian Open final
MELBOURNE (AFP) - China's Li Na stormed into the final of the Australian Open on Thursday with a straight-sets upset win over Maria Sharapova, leaving her one victory away from her second major title.
Li, 30, defeated the world number two 6-2, 6-2 in 1hr 33min and will now meet the winner of Thursday's second semi-final between world number one Victoria Azarenka and American teenager Sloane Stephens.
"Every time I'm back in Australia, I always feel something here," said Li, the 2011 runner-up. "I always play well here. Everyone can be nervous in a final, so I have to enjoy it. I'm looking forward to the final." Sharapova had lost only nine games in her march to the semi-finals, a tournament record, but Li was always going to provide a far sterner test despite trailing 4-8 in their head-to-head.
And the Russian started disastrously with consecutive double faults as she was broken in the opening game.