Erratic Li powers into last four

  • Last Updated: January 22 2013, 8:53 GMT

Li Na made it through to her third Australian Open semi-final after halting Agnieszka Radwanska's blistering start to 2013.

Li Na: Through to the last four in Melbourne
Li Na: Through to the last four in Melbourne

Radwanska came into the match having won 13 straight matches, a run which included title wins in Auckland and Sydney, but she had no answer to Li's all-or-nothing game.

The Chinese won 7-5 6-3 despite making 40 unforced errors to advance to a last-four clash with Maria Sharapova.

In a game of contrasting styles, Radwanska started well with her consistency gaining her the upper hand.

She made Li come through a 12-minute opening game to hold but serving was to prove a disadvantage as there were four consecutive breaks before Li finally stood firm to lead 4-3.

Radwanska edged ahead once more after winning a 26-point rally on break point to move 5-4 up.

She could not consolidate it though as Li promptly hit before claiming a 6-5 lead.

And the sixth seed, the runner-up here two years ago, took the opening set after the best point of the match, both players moving their opponent around the court before Radwanska was pushed into a corner and failed to return a Li smash.

Radwanska, who has now failed to get past the last eight in Melbourne having reached this stage four times, looked like she was mounting a comeback when she established a 2-0 lead in the second.

But Li simply ramped up her game, going for even more from the baseline.

And having it got back on serve, she seized the initiative further by going on a nine-point run which helped her to take a 5-2 lead - despite one serve bizarrely flying over Radwanska's head on the full and straight into the stand.

Radwanska held to make Li serve it out and, despite a few wobbles, she came through in one hour and 42 minutes.

"I really don't know what it is here," said Li. "It seems whenever I come down here my results are always quite consistent, no big setbacks or anything.

"I'm not sure whether it's the winter training but it does seem like I'm just better at this tournament.

"With the Australian Open, it's like coming back and thinking, 'all my old friends are here'.

"Agnieszka's a tough player. I felt like I was against a wall today. She can hit everywhere, but without any mistakes.

"I felt it was 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."


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