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Li Na into Australian Open semi-finals

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MELBOURNE - China's Li Na has ended the winning streak of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Li, a finalist in 2011, took 1 hour 42 minutes to defeat the Pole 7-5 6-3.

She faces the winner of the quarter-final between Russians Maria Sharapova, the second seed and former champion, and Ekaterina Makarova.

Radwanska went into the clash on the back of a run of 13 consecutive match wins, taking out titles in Auckland and Sydney.

The 66-minute first set was littered with seven service breaks and finally sealed by Li despite her messy list of 29 unforced errors. Li raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set with two service breaks in a row before serving out the match.

Radwanska and Li had met nine times previously with the Chinese player leading their head-to-head clashes 5-4.

Li had won three in succession until Radwanska toppled her in the semi-finals of the Sydney event in straight sets, on her way to the championship.

Li said the difference in their Open meeting was that she was feeling refreshed.

"At least this time, I'm fit — not like last time," Li said.

"I think last time, I was a little bit tired of all the travelling. The grand slam, you can play one day and another day have day off.

"I was feeling much, much better and if you have a day off, you can prepare for next match."

But she said she had to concentrate intensely to get past the Pole, something she managed in the deciding set.

"I was feeling (I was playing) today against a wall," Li said.

"She can hit everywhere, but without a mistake. You have to focus on every shot - not every point, every shot. If you hit slow or short one, she'll attack."





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