Li Na Australian Open
Li Na fires a backhand during her semifinal against Eugenie Bouchard in the Australian Open, 23 January. Reuters

Li Na proved to be too strong for youngster Eugenie Bouchard, with the Chinese entering a third Australian Open final with a comfortable straight-sets breeze in the final-four encounter at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Thursday.

Bouchard, in her first Grand Slam semifinal, was outclassed by the been-there-and-done-that-many-times Li Na, who posted a 6-2, 6-4 win.

Li enters her second successive Australian Open final, and third overall, having lost to Victoria Azarenka last year, and Kim Clijsters in 2011.

"Last time was a little bit tough so I will try this time to make one more step," Li said in a courtside interview.

"I think after working with the coach, it's not only about my technique, I'm playing much stronger on court... and more stable from the first point to the second point," the Chinese favourite added on her blistering start to the season.

Bouchard will go away from Melbourne quite happy with her performances, after making the world wake up to her talents and showing the doubters that she is more than just a pretty face.

"I'm proud of how I've improved as a player throughout the tournament," the 19-year-old Canadian said. "But I'm never satisfied with losing. I'm always disappointed. I always want to go further and do better.

"I wouldn't say I exceeded my expectations, but I'm happy with how I did. But like I said, I always want to do better. To me it's not a surprise. 

"I've been working hard my whole life to do this, play at Grand Slams and do well.  It's not an overnight thing and it's not a surprise to me. So I'm just going to go back to the practice courts and keep working hard."

At the end of the day, Li's nous and wider experience proved to be the deciding factor with Bouchard admitting she had gone down to the better player on the day.

"I think she played really well," she added. "You have to give her credit. All of her groundstrokes were like a foot from the baseline and she was very consistent. Even her serves were really solid.

"I felt like she didn't give me much breathing space, much room to do what I want to do on the court. I tried to put pressure, but she just played too good at moments."

Li now awaits the winner between Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova, and the 31-year-old knows she will have to be at her best to win another Grand Slam, regardless of her opponent.

"Tough match of course in the final," Li added. "I think both will fight because it's one more step to take the trophy so we will see."