No. 6 seed, Li Na of China stunned No. 2 seed, Maria Sharapova of Russia in a match that wasn’t even close, 6-2, 6-2 at the 2013 Australian Open semifinals.
Li did to Sharapova what Sharapova had been doing to all of her opponents up until this match, totally dominating from start to finish. In other words, Sharapova got some of her own medicine.
Sharapova was the heavy favorite after giving up only nine games in her first five matches, a record at the Australian Open. But this match turned ugly right from the start. Sharapova served double-faults to lost the first two points and gave up a break in the very first game. Nothing much changed after that.
“I don’t know what happened (but) I always play well here, so thanks guys,” said Li, who was playing her third Australian Open semifinal in four years.
Sharapova’s fans were expecting her to eventually find her rhythm and fight back, but Li kept the pressure on throughout the entire match.
Sharapova, who lost the 2012 Australian final in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka admitted it was hard to get into the match against Li. “She was certainly much more aggressive than I was, dictating the play. I was always on the defense,” said Sharapova, who could have gained the No. 1 ranking by reaching the Australian final. “When I had my opportunities and break points in games that went to deuce, I don’t think any of them really went my way.”
Li will face No. 1 seed Azarenka in the final, who was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over up-and-coming American teenager Sloane Stephens.