Li Na crushes second-seed Sharapova to reach Oz Open final

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 06:20 hrs

World number six Li Na has trounced second-seed Maria Sharapova, 6-2 6-2 in the semifinal of the Australian Open to book a spot in the final.

Li ended Sharapova's stunning run through the draw when she stopped her with utmost ease and panache in just 1 hour 33 minutes.

Li would meet the winner of the second semi-final between defending champion Victoria Azarenka and American teenager Sloane Stephens, reports.

Sharapova made an ominous start with a double fault on the first point of her opening service game and was broken for the first time in the tournament when she netted a return, the paper said.

Li held to lead 2-0 then broke again for 4-1 with a cross-court return. Sharapova fought her way to three break points in the sixth game and finally secured the break when the Chinese player missed a return, the paper added.

Li returned the favour in the following game to lead 5-2, meaning - in less than a set - the Russian had lost the same number of games as she had in her first four matches combined.

The Chinese sixth seed served for the set, racing to 40-0 then wrapped it up in 48 minutes.

Li took the first service break in the second set to remain on track with a 3-2 lead, grabbed a second at 5-2 and served out the match. Sharapova saved one match point but her bid ended on the second.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion, had set a new Australian record in conceding just nine games in all her matches en route to the semi-finals, the paper concluded. (ANI)

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