The world number two was the overwhelming favourite to reach Saturday’s final after dropping just nine games en route to reaching the last four, beating Monica Seles’ Australian Open record.
However, sixth seed Li powered to an impressive 6-2 6-2 victory over her Russian opponent in just over 90 minutes, with China’s No1 set to face the defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the final.
“No doubt [it’s disappointing], but it’s tennis,” said Sharapova.
“You lose a match and you go on to the next one. I’ve been in this position before and I’ve come through it. I’m tough.
“I’m not afraid to go out and keep working – work as hard as I can to be quicker, better, improve in these situations, and when I have another chance, I’ll take it.”
Sharapova also rubbished suggestions a relatively straightforward passage to the semi-finals ultimately worked against the second seed when she faced the in-form Li.
“I certainly can’t use that as an excuse. When I go into any match, I’m trying to win with the best score line I can. That’s my goal,” she added.
“Like I mentioned before, and I said again, if I’m tested, I have to pull through it. That’s great.
“If I win with a good scoreline, move on to the next one, try to do the same thing.
“I felt like I had my fair share of opportunities. It’s not like they weren’t there. I just couldn’t take them.”
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