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China’s Li Beats Sharapova to Reach Australian Open Tennis Final

China’s Li Beats Sharapova to Reach Australian Open Tennis Final
China's Li Na celebrates after beating Russia's Maria Sharapova during their women's singles semi-final match of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan. 24, 2013. Photographer: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Li Na reached the Australian Open women’s final with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Maria Sharapova, who had not lost a set in five previous matches in the tournament.

The sixth-seeded Li will face American teenager Sloane Stephens or defending champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the final.

Li, 30, whose only Grand Slam title so far came at the 2011 French Open, will be playing in her second Australian Open final. She lost the 2011 title in Melbourne to Kim Clijsters.

Sharapova, 25, the second seed from Russia, had lost a total of nine games in her first five matches of the tournament.

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