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Li Na to meet Sharapova in semifinals while Ferrer takes on Djokovic

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-1-23 9:55:49

China's Li Na reached her third Australian Open semifinals in four years on Tuesday and will play Maria Sharapova while defending champion Novak Djokovic eased into the men's semis to meet David Ferrer.

Former French Open champion Li knocked out fourth-seeded Polish Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets.

Li ended the Polish's 13-match winning streak to reach her third semifinal at the Melbourne Park. She made the last four here in 2010 and 2011. Li lost to Kim Clijsters in 2011 final just before she took her first and only Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2011.

The 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal victory against fellow Ekaterina Makarova not only set Sharapova up a semifinal encounter with Li, but also saw a new record set by the world No. 2 -- Sharapova lost only nine games in five matches.

Sharapova double-bagelled her first two matches 6-0, 6-0, and then beat Venus Williams 6-1, 6-3 and Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0, beating Monia Seles' Australian Open record of losing 12 games before the semifinals.

Heading to a historical three Australian Open titles in a row, defending champion Djokovic bounced back from a marathon five-set fourth-round match just 48 hours earlier when he beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a much easier way.

The Serbian world No.1 showed little rustiness from that late finish to complete the quarterfinal in two hours 31 minutes.

"It was a great performance. I was hoping to have a shorter match, whoever won tonight, as long as it didn't go over five hours," Djokovic joked.

The victory guaranteed Djokovic's 11th consecutive Grand Slam semifinals and his semifinal opponent will be Spaniard Ferrer, who fought back from two sets down to beat his Spanish Davis Cup teammate Nicolas Almagro 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-2.

Almagro had never beaten his compatriot in 12 previous attempts but appeared set to put the record straight when he took the first two sets and was serving for the third at 5-4.

But the Spaniard wasted the opportunity and ailed twice more in the fourth set to serve out for the match as Ferrer fought to seal his progression.
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