China’s Li Na has overpowered second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the Australian Open final and a chance to capture her second Grand Slam title.
Li, who won the 2011 French Open and was the losing finalist here to Kim Clijsters the same year, broke Sharapova’s service in the fifth and seventh games of the second set on Thursday.
Sharapova had dropped only nine games in five matches en route to the semifinals, a tournament record.
The sixth-seeded Li, who has been working since August with Justine Henin’s former coach, Carlos Rodriquez, will play either defending champion Victoria Azarenka or 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens in Saturday night’s final.
1. China’s Li Na hits a return to Russia’s Maria Sharapova during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)