Thrashed ... Maria Sharapova. Photo: AFP
China's Li Na has stunned Russia’s Maria Sharapova to reach her second Australian Open final. Li ended the second seed's stunning run through the draw when she stopped her with a 6-2 6-2 win in 1 hour 33 minutes.
She meets the winner of the second semi-final between defending champion Victoria Azarenka and American teenager Sloane Stephens.
One better this time? China's Li Na has won through to the women's final. Photo: AFP
Sharapova made an ominous start with a double fault on the first point of her opening service game and was broken for the first time in the tournament when she netted a return.
Li held to lead 2-0 then broke again for 4-1 with a cross-court return.
Sharapova fought her way to three break points in the sixth game and finally secured the break when the Chinese player missed a return.
Li returned the favour in the following game to lead 5-2, meaning - in less than a set - the Russian had lost the same number of games as she had in her first four matches combined.
The Chinese sixth seed served for the set, racing to 40-0 then wrapped it up in 48 minutes.
Li took the first service break in the second set to remain on track with a 3-2 lead, grabbed a second at 5-2 and served out the match.
Sharapova saved one match point but her bid ended on the second.
Sharapova, the 2008 champion, had set a new Australian record in conceding just nine games in all her matches en route to the semi-finals.
The pair had met 12 times previously with Sharapova holding an 8-4 win-loss record.
The Russian won all three of their clashes in 2012.