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Li shocks Sharapova to reach Australian Open final

Published on Jan 24, 2013 12:49 PM
 

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.

China's Li Na celebrates after beating Russia's Maria Sharapova during their women's singles semi-final match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 24, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
 
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