Result: Li Na crushes Maria Sharapova

China's Li Na hits a backhand return in her semifinal match against Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open tennis championship on January 24, 2013
© AP Photos
Li Na destroys Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 to reach the final of the Australian Open.

Li Na has stormed into her second Australian Open final with a dominating straight-sets victory over Maria Sharapova.

The 30-year-old now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka.

The early signs were positive for Li, as Sharapova struggled with her serve. She double faulted with her first two attempts, but righted the ship with a hefty forehand.

That did not deter the Chinese player, who denied Sharapova the early hold with a brilliant backhand down the line before the Russian ultimately netted to see Li take the lead.

Sharapova threatened to break straight back in the next game, but Li found another brilliant backhand to consolidate the break.

Just when the second seed showed signs of settling into the contest, Li secured the double break to go 4-1 ahead.

The four-time Grand Slam champion did manage to get one of the breaks back, but again Li came storming back to take a 5-2 lead and serve for the set.

Sharapova was struggling to cope with the brilliance of the Chinese, who held comfortably to go one set up.

Every time the Russian threatened to break, the sixth seed stepped up her game.

A spectacular cross-court forehand saw Sharapova thwarted when she had break point in the first game of the second set.

Li then went on to break her opponent twice on her way to a convincing 6-2 6-2 victory.

Serena Williams answers questions at a press conference following her quarter-final exit to Sloane Stephens on January 23, 2013
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