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Li, Sharapova reach Aussie semis

2:33 AM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Li Na ousted arguably the hottest player at the Australian Open in straight sets, while Maria Sharapova continued her dominant ways to also roll into the semifinals of the year's first major.

China's sixth seed Li, a runner-up here two years ago, was one of 13 straight victims by fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the Sydney semis two weeks ago. Radwanska had not even lost a set in her unbeaten start to 2013, but the native of Poland was stymied by Li, 7-5, 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena.

The 2011 French Open champ broke Radwanska's serve four times in the opening set. Radwanska, who earned three breaks herself, saved one set point at 5-6, but was wide left on the next point and hit the final ball of the 66-minute first set into the net.

Li, who has not lost a set this tournament, broke at love to take a 4-2 lead in the second set, and saved two break points leading 5-3 in the second before Radwanska was long on a match point.

The second-seeded Sharapova then eased past fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, the 19th seed, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a semifinal match with Li.

With the first set tied at 2-2, Sharapova earned her second break of the match following a Makarova double fault and powered her way through the next three games to take the set with a bending ace during a second serve.

Sharapova then dominated the second set with 10 winners before finishing off the match with another emphatic ace into the far corner.

Sharapova is the reigning Roland Garros champion who lost to Victoria Azarenka in last year's Aussie finale. She titled here in 2008, and was also a Melbourne runner-up in 2007.

The Sports Network

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