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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: January 25, 2013
Australian Open: Li Na Beats Sharapova to Reach Final

At Australian Open, China's Li Na came into play on Wednesday, just two wins away from hoisting her second career Grand Slam title.

The Chinese sixth seed, squaring off against second seeded Maria Sharapova for a place in the Melbourne final. But if Li was to move on, she would have to knock off Sharapova, who came in-form. The Russian had conceded only nine games throughout her entire run to the round of four.

Both Sharapova and Li had played well throughout their events...but Li came out absolutely on fire, and in control.

Keeping Sharapova pinned to the baseline and jumping on her second serve, Li raced out to a 4-1 lead.

Sharapova had a tough time with Li's serve on the day, but did pick up a break in the next game to bring it back to 4-2.

But the world No. 2 was broken again in the very next game, leaving Li with a chance to close out the first. And she would do just that, blasting a cross-court forehand to take set one 6-2.

The temperature would start to rise in Melbourne, hovering in the mid-30's, but the Chinese would keep her cool.

Sharapova had a chance to take control of the second early on, as she brought up a breakpoint while leading 1-love, but the Chinese would hold firm, cancelling out the Russian's advantage to remain on serve.

It would stay that way until the fifth game of the second, when Li, was able to seize control. Sharapova, smacking a backhand long to fall behind 3-2.

And although Sharapova would have her chances to get back into it, Li would not give up a break in the second, and she picked up a late one to take set two 6-2.

Li, moving on to the final of the Aussie Open with a surprisingly easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Maria Sharapova.

Thursday's second semi-final was between the top seed Victoria Azarenka and young American Sloane Stephens. Stephens, the 19 year old, 29th seed, upset third seeded Serena Williams to reach the round of four, but her magic would run out against the defending champion, the world number one from Belarus.

Azarenka, dispatching Stephens in straight sets to set up a showdown with Li Na in the final.

(CNTV.cn January 24, 2013)


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