By Jaclyn Stacey
(January 22, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Maria Sharapova stormed into the semifinals of the Australian Open after crushing fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 in 66 minutes.
Sharapova didn’t manage any bageled sets in the match but was still very impressive and completely dominated her opponent. She has dropped just 9 games for the duration of the tournament.
“I thought today was going to be a really good test. She’s beaten quality players over the course of last week, and I know that she’s capable of playing really good, you know, with deep hitting. Also a lefty, which is a bit tricky. So, yeah, I thought I handled that pretty good and was able to keep my focus all the way through the match.”
Sharapova hit 22 winners and won 83% of her first serves in play on her way to the quick victory.
She will meet Li Na in the semifinals and leads their head-to-head 8-4.
“Yeah, I mean, I’ve beaten her the last few times that we’ve played, but they’ve always been really good matches, really tough matches. I certainly expect it in the next one.”
“She’s had a great start to the year and playing really well. She was, you know, the most-improved player towards the end of last year as well, so that will be hopefully a high-quality semi.”
Sharapova has yet to be troubled during the tournament and was asked if it worries her knowing she hasn’t had to surpass any big challenges going into the semifinal.
“Well, going into the match, my goal is not really to be tested. I don’t know how else to put it. If I do come into a situation where I feel like I have to pull through or I’m not playing my best tennis or she’s up and I have to find a way to win, then that’s what you have on that given day.”
“Do I want to be in that position? Absolutely not.”
Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.