Maria Sharapova reached the Australian Open semifinals, losing just nine games on the way, which is the tournament record, and will next face Li Na, who reached the final four by ending Agnieszka Radwanska's perfect 13-0 winning streak of 2013.
Can you believe that Sharapova has not only lost just nine games in five matches at the Australian Open, but she dropped her serve just twice! Sharapova's quarterfinal opponent Ekaterina Makarova was wiped off the court in 66 minutes, 6-2 6-2, but she was one of the players that earned a break against the second seed this fortnight, alongside Venus Williams.
Li has now made the semifinals in three of the past four years at the Australian Open. Even the player with the best win-loss record this season, actually the only player that beat her in 2013 (in Sydney semifinals), couldn't stop her at the tournament where she feels at home. Li won an unpredictable first set against Radwanska, that lasted more than an hour, and from 0-2 down in the second set she took control by winning five straight games. In total, there were 10 breaks of serve and final score was 7-5 6-3.
The semifinal will be a match between the Australian Open runner-ups of the two previous years. Sharapova leads 8-4 in their meetings so far, including all the three they had last season.
Tomorrow we're having the remaining two quarterfinals: Victoria Azarenka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams vs. Sloane Stephens. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)