Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her women’s singles semi-final match against Li Na of China at the Australian Open tenn
is tournament in Melbourne January 24, 2013. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)China’s Li Na thrashed Russian champion Maria Sharapova in a convincing straight sets victory in Melbourne, putting the Chinese contender through to the final. Li dominated the match, storming through to win 6-2 6-2.The 30-year-old tennis veteran Li Na will now face off against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. The defending champion defeated 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens in the other semi.Sharapova made a shaky start to the match, serving up a double fault on the first point. Li Na then left the Russian in the dust, breaking Sharapova’s serve for the first time in the tournament and taking the first set 6-2.In spite of Sharapova’s attempts to secure a hold in the second set, an unrelenting display of tennis from the Chinese number six seed left the Russian powerless to respond. Li Na made short work of the Russian, closing the match in one hour and 33 minutes.Prior to the match Sharapova had blazed a trail through the tournament, relinquishing just nine games on her road to the semi-finals. However, in less than a set Sharapova had lost the same number of games as in all of her previous matches combined.The pair have met previously on 12 occasions, with Sharapova holding an 8-4 win-loss record.
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