Australian Open 2013: Sharapova braced for tough Li challenge

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova says that she is braced for a tough test against Li Na after reaching the semi-finals on Tuesday

The Sport Review staff
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maria sharapova
Maria Sharapova won in straight sets against Ekaterina Makarova Photo: Marianne Bevis

maria sharapova

Maria Sharapova says that she is braced for a “tough” test against Li Na after easing into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

The second seed was in ruthless form against her fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, winning 6-2 6-2 in a blistering 106 minutes.

Sharapova, who won the French Open crown in 2012, will face sixth seed Li Na for a place in the final, and the 25-year-old is not taking the veteran’s challenge lightly.

“I’ve beaten her the last few times that we’ve played, but they’ve always been really good matches, really tough matches. I certainly expect the next one to be,” said Sharapova.

“She’s had a great start to the year and playing really well. She was the most-improved player towards the end of last year as well, so that means it will hopefully be a high quality semi-final.”

Sharapova has only dropped nine games en route to the semi-final, a run which beats Monica Seles’ Australian Open record of only conceding 12 games before the last four.

However, the Russian, who completed a career Grand Slam with her triumph in Paris last year, is not concerned by the lack of a real challenge in the tournament so far.

“Well going into the match, my goal is not really to be tested,” she added.

“If I do come into a situation where I feel like I have to pull through or I’m not playing my best tennis or she’s up and I have to find a way to win, then that’s what you have on that given day.

“Do I want to be in that position? Absolutely not.

“Like I said, if I start the match well, I want to follow through with that along the whole way and keep that motivation and the way that I’m playing, doing the right things and keeping that focus. That’s the important thing.”

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