Li and Sharapova to meet in semi
Russian Maria Sharapova will meet China's Li Na in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
Li on Tuesday ended the winning streak of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the last four when she won 7-5 6-3.
Sharapova later breezed past compatriot Ekaterina Makarova - in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the second straight year - 6-2 6-2 in 66 minutes.
Sharapova has conceded a total of just nine games in five matches, it beats the previous record of 12 set by Monica Seles in 1991. Photo: Getty Images
The second seed won the Open in 2008 and was a finalist last year.
Sharapova set a new Open record for the least number of games lost in the first four rounds of the championship - five.
With her victory on Tuesday, she set a new mark. Having conceded a total of just nine games in five matches, it beats the previous record of 12 set by Monica Seles in 1991.
China's Li Na ends Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska's perfect start to the tennis season. Photo: AFP
"Today was a matter of being focused because she's been playing great and this is her second grand slam quarter-final and I know she was excited to play me," Sharapova said.
Radwanska went into the clash on the back of a run of 13 consecutive match wins, taking out titles in Auckland and Sydney, where Li lost to the Polish player.
Li said the difference in their Open meeting was that she was feeling refreshed.
"At least this time, I'm fit - not like last time," Li said.
"I think last time, I was a little bit tired of all the travelling. The grand slam, you can play one day and another day have day off.
"I was feeling much, much better and, if you have a day off, you can prepare for next match."
But she said she had to concentrate intensely to get past the Pole, something she managed in the deciding set.
"I was feeling (I was playing) today against a wall," Li said.
"She can hit everywhere, but without a mistake. You have to focus on every shot - not every point, every shot. If you hit slow or short one, she'll attack."
The 30-year-old Chinese star credited coach Carlos Rodriguez, who she took on last August, with helping her put in the work needed to still challenge the top players.
"He was very tough with training in the winter - it was unbelievable," Li said.
Radwanska said she felt she had been too slow on the court but Li had played solidly throughout the match.
"Some of the games, she didn't let me do anything - very deep balls all the time, good serve. She was really playing good tennis today.
"I think she's a very consistent player. She's always playing on the same level. It's not up and down like the other girls. She's always playing solid tennis.
"Of course, I had my chances but, when you're not really taking them, it's really turning around and it goes away."