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Sharapova to face Makarova in all-Russian semi

By EMN Updated: Jan 27, 2015 10:09 pm

Melbourne, January 27

Maria Sharapova will face fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the last four of the Australian Open after the pair enjoyed surprisingly one-sided quarter-final victories on Tuesday.
Sharapova flicked aside heir apparent Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-2 in 78 minutes after Makarova had needed just 69 to dispatch third seed Simona Halep 6-4 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena.“I had to have a really good performance against Genie, she has been playing so well in Grand Slams,” Sharapova said in an on-court interview.
“She’s so confident and aggressive and I just tried to take that away from her today. That was the only chance I had and I did that well. I’m just happy to be at this stage of the tournament. To be in the semi-finals is very meaningful and to be able to do it that way is extra special.”
The Russian five-time Grand Slam champion broke serve in the opening game of the match and faced just two break points in the contest, saving both in the sixth game of the first set before breaking her 20-year-old Canadian opponent again to take it in 41 minutes.
Two more breaks gave the 27-year-old the match as Bouchard, who reached the semi-finals here last year, paid the price for making 30 unforced errors.
Makarova cruise
Makarova had earlier reached her second successive major semi-final, the 26-year-old having lost to eventual winner Serena Williams in the last four of the US Open last year.
Neither Makarova or Halep had lost a set in the previous four rounds but it was Makarova who always looked the most likely winner, racing into a 3-0 lead with two breaks of serve as Halep committed a string of unforced errors.
The 23-year-old Romanian did recover one of the breaks to register her first game and held to trail 2-4, but could not find another breakthrough as Makarova made the most of her swinging left-handed serve.
No 11 seed Makarova, 26, then cruised through the second set and said, “It’s a great feeling, I’m so happy that I came through.”
“She is a tough opponent and I lost to her (in their only previous meeting) two years ago. She never gives up, she is always fighting and every point is long. It was really tough and I am happy that I stayed solid and in my game. I was used to being in quarter-finals (in grand slams) so now I have to get used to being in semi-finals.”

By EMN Updated: Jan 27, 2015 10:09:44 pm