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Li Na beats Bouchard, reaches Australian final

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JOHN PYE | January 22, 2014 11:16 PM EST | AP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Li Na has reached the Australian Open final for the third time in four years with a 6-2, 6-4 win over 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

No. 4-seeded Li, the 2011 French Open champion, is the only major winner and the highest-ranked player still in contention after the fourth-round upsets of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka's quarterfinal loss to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

No. 5-seeded Radwanska was playing Dominika Cibulkova in the second semifinal later Thursday.

Li, who lost last year's final to Azarenka, was aggressive from the start against Bouchard, who started nervously and didn't win a point in her first three service games.

Fittingly, she finished off the match with a backhand crosscourt, one of 16 backhand winners in the match and her biggest weapon against Bouchard.