23 Jan 2013

Li Na sets up Sharapova showdown in semis

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerLi Na (CHN)

The first four semifinalists at this year’s Australian Open have been decided and the only Top 4 seed on either side of the men’s and women’s draws not to make it through was Agnieszka Radwanska.

The Polish star found an in-form Li Na on the other side of the net and in one of the most exciting matches on the women’s side of the draw so far this year came undone against the powerful hitting of the Chinese No. 1 to lose 75 63.

“She's a tough player,” Li said of her opponent. “I was feeling today against a wall. She can hit everywhere, but without a mistake. I was feeling just very tough. You have to focus on every shot. Not every point, every shot.  If you hit like slow or like short one, she'll attack.”

And attack she did, but even that wasn’t enough to come away with a victory and a first appearance in the semifinals at Melbourne Park for the Pole, who had gone into today’s match unbeaten in 2013.

“I'm going to have few days off definitely,” Radwanska said “I go home for a little bit. Then the next thing is Fed Cup.”

In the other women’s match it was more of the same from Maria Sharapova, who has been making light work of every opponent she has faced so far at this year’s Australian Open.

The Russian superstar overcame countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova 62 62 and has now dropped just nine games en route to the semifinals, which is a new Australian Open record.

On the men’s side of the draw it was a day to forget for Nicolas Almagro, who despite leading 64 64 5-4 and 30-0 failed to serve out the match against his Davis Cup team-mate David Ferrer.

In the end it was a 13th straight win for Ferrer as he fought back from two-sets down for the fourth time in his career to win 46 46 75 76 62.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made light work of Tomas Berdych in Tuesday’s night match on Rod Laver Arena with a 61 46 61 64 victory to book his place in the semifinals for a third consecutive year.