The Chinese national left absolutely no doubt who was better out on the court on Thursday morning, winning in straight sets (6-2, 6-2) over her opponent.
It was a dominant performance that saw Li attack to great effect on second serves and come out on top of the baseline battles.
While it was technically an upset, the sixth-seeded Li has been here before, making the finals in Melbourne just two short years ago, back in 2011.
Not that Sharapova is a stranger to the finals of the event (she won in 2008 and has made it three times in her career, most recently in 2012), but many had this matchup as a relative coin flip before the two took to the clay.
Considering the Russian had dropped just nine total games through the opening rounds of the tournament (five total matches), it is a bit puzzling that she was so soundly defeated in the semifinals.
Speaking of her loss, the 25-year-old star told Christopher Clarey of The New York Times: “Today I felt like I had my fair share of opportunities. It’s not like they weren’t there. I just couldn’t take them today.”
With Sharapova in the rearview, Li is advancing to face the top-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the finals of the 2013 Australian Open.
The 30-year-old Chinese star is looking to win her second Grand Slam title during an illustrious career that started way back in 1999.
She has her work cut out for her against the 23-year-old Belarusian, who won in Melbourne last year and is looking to defend her title.
If Li can play anything like she did on Thursday against Sharapova, there is no question she will be in great position to win.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!