Li Na beats Sharapova to reach Australian Open 2013 final

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Maria Sharapova, the 2nd seed, came on to Rod Laver Arena to do battle with Na Li, the 6th seed, for a place in the final in blistering 44° heat. After the departure of Serena Williams in the quarters on Wednesday, the ruthless Russian was the firm favourite to lift the trophy on Saturday, given that she had only lost a total of nine games in her run to this match – an Australian Open record – and that she was playing some of her very best tennis.

Sharapova began the match with two double faults and let Li break. Games then went with serve until the 4th game when Li got another break, and she then held for 4-1. The 6th game with Li serving was very long with many deuces and advantages and the Russian managed to break back on her third advantage point for 2-5, but Li made no further errors to take the set 6-2 in 48 minutes.

Sharapova opened the second set and held. Games then went with serve until the 5th game, when Li again got the break, to lead 3-2. Even though there were many games which went to deuces and advantages, the Chinese player never relinquished her lead and played brilliantly – especially her serve – to take the second set to 6-2 in just over an hour and a half to book her place in her second Australian Open final.

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