Although some of the details of the action on this side of the draw didn’t go as I hoped, in the end this is the semifinal I wanted to see on the bottom half of the women’s singles draw at the 2013 Australian Open. After winning her first two tournaments of the year and moving through the first week in Melbourne, Agnieszka Radwanska was handed her first defeat by 2011 Australian Open finalist Li Na. The Chinese star and 2011 Roland Garros champion has played well in Melbourne for several years. The question now is, can she stop the Sharapova Express?
Maria Sharapova rolled by Ekaterina Makarova 2 and 2. Her 9 total games lost going into the semifinals is a tournament record. This is as focused and lethal as I’ve seen Masha look in a long time. However, keep in mind that she has yet to play somebody as good as Vika or Serena. Can Li Na lift her game to that level? She beat Masha in the semifinals of the 2011 Roland Garros tournament on her way to the championship. However, that’s a completely different surface, not to mention that Masha beat Li Na 3 times in 2012. Still, it’s been easy so far on Sharapova. What happens if Li Na takes her to 4-4 or 5-5…or goes up an early break? Masha has looked great, but nobody has put any pressure on her. Maybe Li Na will be the one.
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MARIA SHARAPOVA def. Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2 6-2
LI NA def. Agnieszka Radwanska, 7-5 6-3