Li Na again reaches the semifinals in AustraliaMELBOURNE, Australia - Li Na advanced to the Australian Open semifinals for the third time in four years, bringing fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska’s 13-match winning streak to a shuddering halt.
Sixth-seeded Li, who lost the 2011 Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters only months before her Grand Slam breakthrough at the French Open, prevailed 7-5, 6-3 over Radwanska in Tuesday’s first match at Rod Laver Arena.
“She’s a tough player. I was feeling today against a wall,” Li said. “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.”
Radwanska came into the Open with titles at Auckland and Sydney, but her difficulties in Grand Slam quarterfinals continued. She’s advanced once in seven tries - at Wimbledon last year when she lost the final to Serena Williams.
Sixth-seeded Li will play the winner of Tuesday’s all-Russian quarterfinal between No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, who has lost only five games in her first four matches, and Ekaterina Makarova.
The quarterfinals on the other half of the draw will feature American teenager Sloane Stephens against Serena Williams, who is aiming for a third consecutive major title, and defending champion Victoria Azarenka against two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
On the men’s side, No. 2 Roger Federer and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray stayed on course for a semifinal meeting.
Federer won 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 over big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, advancing to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the 35th consecutive time, while Murray took advantage of Gilles Simon’s fatigue for a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 victory.
Federer will face 2008 Australian finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat friend and fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. AP
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