Australian Open highlights: Li Na beats Eugenie Bouchard to reach women's singles final

Fourth seed Li Na has defeated Canadian 30th seed Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-4 to reach the women's singles final of the Australian Open. See the match as it happened here.

Updated: January 23, 2014 10:55 IST
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9:52 (IST): Li Na has reached the Australian Open final for the third time in four years with this victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

9:39 (IST): Fourth seed Li Na beats 30th seed Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-4 to book her spot in the women's singles final of the Australian Open.

9:35 (IST): Li Na to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

9:30 (IST): Li Na drives home the break advantage to lead 5-3 in the second set. Bouchard will serve to stay in the match. (6-2, 5-3)

9:27 (IST): There have been only two games successfully held in this second set. Li Na now breaks to lead 4-3. (6-2, 4-3)

9:21 (IST): Another break of serve in the second set. Bouchard makes it 3-3. (2-6, 3-3)

9:15 (IST): Li Na now gets a break advantage of her own. Leads 3-2 in the second set. (6-2, 3-2)

9:11 (IST): Li Na gets a break back and then holds serve to tie it at 2-2 in the second set. (6-2, 2-2)

9:01 (IST): Eugenie Bouchard gets an early break of serve in the second set. Leads 2-0. (2-6, 2-0)

8:49 (IST): Eugenie Bouchard holds serve in the opening game of the second set after a seesaw battle. Leads 1-0. (2-6, 1-0)

8:41 (IST): Li Na finally holds serve to win the first set 6-2 after 29 minutes.

8:31 (IST): Eugenie Bouchard gets a break back. She will serve at 1-5 in the first set.

8:25 (IST): Li Na holds on to a double break advantage in the first set. Leads 4-0.

8:16 (IST): Li Na consolidates her break of serve early in the match. Leads 2-0 in the first set.

8:05 (IST): The last time these two played against each other Li Na won won 6-4, 6-4 in Montreal back in 2012.

7:56 (IST): Fourth seeded Li Na battles the 30th seed Bouchard for a place in the final of the first Grand Slam of the season.

Match Preview:

China's Li Na will hope to seize a golden opportunity at the Australian Open as the top seed left standing heads into a semi-final against teen sensation Eugenie Bouchard Thursday.

Li is the highest ranked women's player left at the season-opening Grand Slam with world number one Serena Williams, defending champion Victoria Azarenka and third seed Maria Sharapova all shock early exits.

It opens the door for the fourth seed to end her jinx at Melbourne Park where she has lost twice in the final in the last three years, to Kim Clijsters in 2011 and Azarenka last year.

If she comes through against 19-year-old Bouchard, 12 years her junior, either Polish fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska or Slovak 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova will be awaiting her in the Saturday decider.

Despite the draw being blown wide open, the popular and experienced Li, who has been improving as the tournament wears on, is taking nothing for granted with so many upsets already.

Li Na vs Eugenie Bouchard head to head:

Li Na leads 1-0 as the only time the two fared against each other was in Montreal in 2012 when the Chinese won 6-4, 6-4.

Li Na vs Eugenie Bouchard road to the semis:

Li Na (China, 4th seed):

Round 1 - beat Ana Konjuh (Croatia) 6-2, 6-0

Round 2 - beat Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 6-0, 7-6 (7/5)

Round 3 - beat Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic, 26th seed) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3

Round 4 - beat Ekaterina Makarova (Russia, 22nd seed) 6-2, 6-0

Quarter-finals - beat Flavia Pennetta (Italy, 28th seed) 6-2, 6-2

Eugenie Bouchard (Canada, 30th seed):

Round 1 - beat Tang Hao Chen (China) 7-5, 6-1

Round 2 - beat Virginie Razzano (France) 6-2, 7-6 (12/10)

Round 3 - beat Lauren Davis (USA) 6-2, 6-2

Round 4 - beat Casey Dellacqua (Australia) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-0

Quarter-finals - beat Ana Ivanovic (Serbia, 14the seed) 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

For teenager Eugenie, to belong is to believe

Eugenie Bouchard is in the Australian Open semifinals because she never thought she was not supposed to be.

With a sense of purpose and belonging on the big stage that eludes many more experienced players, Bouchard came back to defeat Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in her quarterfinal match Tuesday, playing proactive, fearless tennis even in the tightest moments of the match.

Bouchard, a 19-year-old who goes by Genie, came to Melbourne last year ranked No. 145 and lost in the second round of the preliminary qualifying draw.

This year, Bouchard came to Melbourne ranked 31st after a season of rapid but steady improvement that earned her the WTA Newcomer of the Year award. Seeded 30th, she avoided facing another seeded player as she capably navigated her way through the first four rounds.

In the quarterfinals, she overcame the 14th-seeded Ivanovic, a resurgent former No. 1 who shocked the top seed Serena Williams in the fourth round.

"You gotta start from the bottom and now we're here, right?" Bouchard joked in an interview on the eve of her quarterfinal, co-opting lyrics from Canadian rapper Drake. (Read more)

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