Australian Open: Sharapova to meet Kvitova in semis

Melbourne, Jan 25 (IANS) Maria Sharapova set up a much awaited Australian Open semifinal clash with Petra Kvitova after disposing of fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in a women’s singles last eight match here Wednesday.

Britain’s Andy Murray halted the dream run of Kei Nishikori, beating the Japanese 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in the men’s singles quarterfinals.
Former Australian Open winner Sharapova overpowered compatriot Makarova 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals while Kvitova beat unseeded Italian Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4.
“It will certainly be tough. I have lost to her the last couple of times – obviously the big one in Wimbledon where she played really well,” said Sharapova.
“I am looking forward to the matchup. I don’t like losing so many times in a row. So I will certainly be going out there and trying to play my best,” she added.
Their clash will be a repeat of last year’s Wimbledon final which Kvitova won in straight sets. The pair also kept alive their hopes of claiming the World No.1 spot, which Caroline Wozniacki will lose Monday after her quarterfinal loss to defending champion Kim Clijsters.
Makarova advanced to the quarterfinals with an overwhelming victory over Serena Williams, but she could not repeat the momentum against fourth seed Sharapova.
Sharapova seemed nervous initially. She double faulted twice in the opening game, but soon recovered and held the serve. She then put all the pressure on Makarova and broke the fourth game to take control of the first set.
After 2-2 in the second set, Makarova lost her serve with a backhand unforced error in the fifth. From there on, Sharapova did not allow Makarova to come back and cruised to victory.