Result: Victoria Azarenka ends Sloane Stephens's run at Australian Open

Result: Azarenka ends Stephens's run
© AP Photos
Victoria Azarenka overcomes second-set jitters against Sloane Stephens to book her place in the final of the Australian Open.

Victoria Azarenka has reached her second consecutive Australian Open final courtesy of a 6-1 6-4 victory over Sloane Stephens.

She will now face Li Na in the final after the Chinese sixth seed overcame Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka assumed control from the first game, breaking Stephens's serve after clawing her way back from 40-15 down before comfortably holding her own.

The teenager was struggling to make an impact on the defending champion's serve, while she found herself continually fighting against the riptide.

The Belarusian broke twice more as she went on to clinch the opening set.

Her dominance continued early in the second set as she once again went 1-0 ahead, but thereafter Stephens's forehand began to find the mark.

She managed to get the break back in the next game and then consolidated.

For the second time in two matches, it looked like the American might profit from an injury to her opponent, as Azarenka seemed to be struggling with an ankle problem.

Stephens looked as if she might be gaining the upper hand, but soon Azarenka was back on top, breaking for a 4-2 lead.

Again the 19-year-old responded in the next game and Azarenka showed her frustration by smashing the ball hard into the plexicushion when returning to her seat at the changeover.

However, a third break in as many games meant that Azarenka had the chance to serve for a place in the final.

After more than 12 minutes and five match points, Azarenka relinquished her serve once more. It was confirmed by a spectacular forehand down the line from Stephens.

Azarenka left the court for a medical timeout - the third time she has been in such a situation following injuries to Laura Robson (R4) and Serena Williams (QF) in her previous matches.

When the 23-year-old returned to the court, she was able to break for a seventh time to eventually seal her passage into the final.

Maria Sharapova reacts during her semifinal loss to Li Na at the Australian Open tennis championship on January 24, 2013
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