Melbourne, Australia: It still does not look quite right to see Carlos Rodriguez working for anyone but Justine Henin as he sits in the players box wearing his poker face and a ball cap.
For years, Rodriguez was Henin's mentor and tactician in chief, a diminutive, Argentine-born coach who systematically helped the sensitive Henin overcome her fears and limitations to become the world's No. 1 player and a multiple Grand Slam champion.
But Rodriguez is back at the heart of the women's game, and he was in the stands again on a steamy Thursday afternoon observing every nuance as his new pupil, Li Na, played one of the best big matches of her career to defeat Maria Sharapova, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the Australian Open final.That the sixth-seeded Li could beat the second-seeded Sharapova was no big surprise. One of China's biggest sports stars, Li is one of the game's true quality players and was a finalist here in 2011, but that she could beat Sharapova so easily was definitely a surprise.