Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova moved into the Australian Open semi-finals with yet another ominous performance, thrashing Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday.

In an all-Russian affair on Rod Laver Arena, the second seed crushed Makarova 6-2 6-2 in just 66 minutes.

Sharapova has dropped just nine games on her way to the semi-finals, where she will face Chinese sixth seed Li Na.

Li ended Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska's unbeaten start to 2013 with a 7-5 6-3 win earlier in the day.

Other than an early break of serve, Makarova was unable to trouble her in-form countrywoman.

Sharapova managed 22 winners and 19 unforced errors while her serve also proved too much for Makarova.

The four-time grand slam champion dropped just 13 points when serving, sending down five aces.

In a repeat of last year's quarter-final at Melbourne Park, which Sharapova also won in straight sets, it looked like being more of a contest early.

The duo held serve before Sharapova got the first break, a cross-court backhand proving too powerful and flat for Makarova.

But Sharapova gave up the break in the next game with a double fault taking it to deuce before Makarova produced two backhand winners the first of which the 2008 Australian Open champion allowed to pass thinking it was long.

It was to be the end of Makarova's bright start, however, with Sharapova powering away with the next four games to take the first set finishing it with a 151km/h second serve out wide.

Makarova, the fourth highest ranked Russian on the WTA Tour, battled bravely early in the second but was unable to hold off yet another break of serve in the opening game.

Sharapova exposed Makarova's poor movement to gain the first break and a 1-0 lead, with the latter netting a backhand after being forced wide.

From then, it was all Sharapova taking a 2-1 lead and extending it to 5-1 before her opponent held serve to 15.

In cruise control, she easily served it out and a 153km/h ace out wide completed her win and gave her a semi-final berth at the Australian Open for the sixth time.

A tough match against Li follows but Sharapova has won the past three meetings between the pair, including two thrashings on hard-courts last year.


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