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Maria on track for date with Serena

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Robert Grant

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Li sets up Sharapova semi

Li Na stunned Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets, advancing to a Semi-Final clash with Maria Sharapova, who beat Ekaterina Makarova.

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RUSSIAN Maria Sharapova is on a collision course to face US star Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, but first she will have to get past China's Li Na in the semi-finals.

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. The second seed won the Open in 2008 and was a finalist last year.

"Today was a matter of being focused" ... Maria Sharapova.

"Today was a matter of being focused" ... Maria Sharapova. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Sharapova had set an 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 another mark. Having conceded a total of just nine games in five matches, that beats the record of 12 set by Monica Seles in 1991.

''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 after of a run of 13 consecutive match wins, taking out titles in Auckland and Sydney, where Li lost to the Polish player.

Meanwhile, Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has named Lleyton Hewitt, Marinko Matosevic, Matt Ebden and Chris Guccione in Australia's team for next month's qualifying tie in Taiwan.

Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic remains suspended after being disciplined last month for a lack of professionalism. But Rafter said he had spoken to the 20-year-old after his third-round loss to Roger Federer at the Australian Open last Saturday and was hopeful Tomic would force his way back into the team for the second-round tie in April, should Australia make it. Luke Saville will also travel to Taiwan for the first-round tie from February 1-3 to serve as a practice partner.

AAP

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