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Stephens, Sharapova Come Up Short

Dita Alangkara/AP

Five thoughts on the women's semifinals at the Australian Open, where Victoria Azarenka (6-1, 6-4 over Sloane Stephens) nd Li Na (6-2, 6-2 over Maria Sharapova) advanced to Saturday's final. ...

1. Azarenka's antics. First, a bit of credit. Placed in a potentially dangerous situation -- facing a young opponent, fat with confidence and attention, playing with house money -- Azarenka smothered Stephens, never letting her take control of the match despite a late comeback. She smacked Stephens' second serve as if were propped on a tee. She ran Stephens ragged.

She not only neutralized whatever game plan Stephens brought but also killed her spirit. She won the first set in barely half an hour. (And Azarenka has won her last 60 matches when...

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