Melbourne: Outplayed, out-thought and out-manoeuvred, Maria Sharapova's hopes of reaching another Grand Slam final were undone by China's Li Na in unceremonious fashion on Thursday.
"I think she played a really great match," Sharapova told reporters after her 2-6, 2-6 defeat. "She was certainly much more aggressive than I was, dictating the play. I was always on the defence.
"She was taking the first ball and doing something with it. When I was trying to, I was making too many unforced errors.When I had my opportunities and breakpoints in games that went to deuce, I don't think anything really went my way today."
"When your opponent is always up and ahead, it's always a little bit mentally easier for them to keep that going," Sharapova admitted.
"If I had taken those chances and clawed my way back and made it a bit tougher for her, I'm sure she would have thought a little bit more. But I certainly didn't make her think.
"She always had a little bit of the edge. From the beginning, she was up a break. That's why I said I don't think I gave her much to think about because she was always playing ahead." (Reuters)