Li Na of China celebrates defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia in their women's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
China's Li Na crushed Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 to advance to the final of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Sharapova had conceded only nine games coming into the match but Asia s first grand slam singles champion broke the Russian three times to capture the first set and twice in the second to serve for the match at 5-2.
With the temperature rising above 34 Celsius (93F), the 30-year-old Chinese kept her cool to close out the match in one hour and 33 minutes on the second match point when Sharapova clubbed a return into the net.
Li, also a finalist in 2011, will play Victoria Azarenka or Sloane Stephens in the final.