It's down to the finals for the women in the 2013 Australian Open, as sixth-seeded Li Na of China upset second seed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the finals against No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka.
Azarenka knocked off 19-year-old newcomer Sloane Stephens, who had just beaten third-ranked Serena Williams in the quarterfinals by a score of 6-1, 6-4 to get back to her second consecutive Aussie Open finals.
Here's some media to help tell the tale of these two women.
ESPN's SportsCenter makes note of Li Na's finals appearances with this tweet:
Upset in Melbourne - 6-seed Li Na defeats 2-seed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in Australian Open Semifinals.3rd career major final for Li.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 24, 2013
ESPN's Stats & Info also gives us the line on Azarenka's Grand Slam final history:
No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka advances to her 3rd Grand Slam final; won 2012 Australian Open, runner-up at 2012 US Open.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2013
With the 2013 Australian Open title on the line, here's a look at what Day 13 of the 2013 Australian Open has to offer.
Day 13 TV Schedule
|Round||Coverage Time (ET)||Channel|
|Women's Finals||3 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.||ESPN|
Live Stream: ESPN3
Brackets (courtesy of the Australian Open's official website)
For the complete men's draw, click here.
For the complete women's draw, click here.
Click here for Saturday's complete schedule of play.
Li Na vs. Victoria Azarenka Preview
Looking to defend her 2012 Aussie Open title, Victoria Azarenka finds herself in a tough matchup with Li Na.
Li Na earned the French Open title in 2011 and made it to the Aussie Open finals that same year, losing to Kim Clijsters in the final round.
While Azarenka has been consistent throughout the tournament, ESPN Stats & Info tells us that the history between these two doesn't necessarily sway in the Belarusian's favor:
Victoria Azarenka will face Li Na in Australian Open final; Azarenka leads all-time series 5-4 but has lost both Grand Slam meetings.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2013
Li Na could be given the slight edge here, with Azarenka needing six match points to oust Stephens and people questioning her sportsmanship following a medical timeout in the semis, according to the Miami Herald.
The Herald also cites that Azarenka sustained injuries to her left knee and rib following the semifinals match, leaving her health status much in doubt come Saturday's finals.
Nonetheless, the world's No. 1 women's tennis player is ready to defend her title and has won the last four matches she's played against Li Na.
Azarenka is the more talented and decorated woman in this match and I like her to add another title to her resume on Saturday.
If she can keep her emotions in check and put the Stephens match behind her, Azarenka will be your 2013 Aussie Open champion.
Prediction: Azarenka in three sets
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