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Rediff.com  » Sports » Photos: Sharapova vs Kvitova, Djokovic vs Murray semis

Photos: Sharapova vs Kvitova, Djokovic vs Murray semis

Last updated on: January 25, 2012 21:06 IST

Sharapova beats Makarova to seal semi-final spot

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Russia's Maria Sharapova booked her spot in the last four of the Australian Open on Wednesday with a surprisingly simple 6-2, 6-3 win over compatriot Ekaterina Makarova.

Makarova had stunned five-times champion Serena Williams in the last round but she was out of her depth against the world number four, who closed out the win in just under 90 minutes.

- Paes, Sania-Bhupathi in last four at Aus Open

Sharapova, who beat Ana Ivanovic to win the Melbourne Park title in 2008, swarmed all over Makarova's weak second serve and routinely swatted them back faster than they came at her.

She will now get the chance to avenge her 2011 Wimbledon final defeat to Petra Kvitova after the Czech bounced Italian Sara Errani out of the quarter-finals. 


Image: Maria Sharapova
Photographs: Getty Images

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Kvitova struggles to overcome Errani

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World number two Petra Kvitova rallied from a three-game deficit in the second set before advancing to the Australian Open semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Italian surprise package Sara Errani on Wednesday.

The Wimbledon champion, who has played four of her five matches first up on Rod Laver Arena, found herself 4-1 down in the second set before she reeled off the next five games to maintain her quest for a second grand slam title.

Unseeded Errani, who at 1.64m was dwarfed by the 1.83m Kvitova, stretched the Czech throughout their match, putting a surprising amount of topspin on the ball and blasting winners down the line.

Second seed Kvitova was her own worst enemy at times and looked exasperated after committing 44 unforced errors.

"At the beginning I was a little nervous because I knew everybody expected it to be an easy match," the 21-year-old told reporters.

"Of course you have a little pressure on your back because you have a grand slam and everybody is expecting that you win all your matches when you play.

"But it's not really easy. That's why I'm really happy to be in the semi-final here."

Kvitova is one of three women still in with a chance to take over the world number one ranking from Caroline Wozniacki, who was knocked out by Kim Clijsters on Tuesday.

The other two are Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, who she beat in last year's Wimbledon final and faces again in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park. 


Image: Petra Kvitova
Photographs: Getty Images

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Murray thrashes Nishikori

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Andy Murray easily booked his semi-final berth. 

Last year's losing finalist was ruthless in ending Kei Nishikori's brilliant run, carving up the Japanese sensation with a dominant 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory to stroll into his third successive semi-final at Melbourne Park. 

The fourth-seeded Briton stepped up a gear in the third, closing out the contest on his second match point when Nishikori belted a forehand return into the net. 

Nishikori, who is the first Japanese to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Shuzo Matsuoka reached that stage at Wimbledon in 1995, in the semi-finals. 

He is also the first Japanese man to play in the Australian Open quarter-finals since Ryosuki Nunoi and Jiro Satoh in 1932. 

Nishikori had to battle through five sets to beat sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round on Monday, just two days after he was visibly fatigued following his third round victory over Julien Benneteau. 


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Getty Images

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'You don't start off trying to win the Grand Slam'

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Former Australian tennis player Rod Laver posed with a memorabilia piece to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his first Grand Slam.

The legend was honoured at the start of the 10th day of the competition. 

Laver won the Australia Open first in 1960 before proceeding to win the tournament twice more in 1962 and 1969, the last two occasion also witnessing him complete a Grand Slam. 

He was also a beaten finalist in 1961, losing to compatriot Roy Emerson.

Laver achieved the calendar Grand Slam twice, in 1969 as a professional and the first in 1962 as an amateur, which the Australian Open organisers were commemorating this year.

"Sometimes you think, 'boy, 50 years is a long time ago'. I was just honoured to be able to pull it off," he said.

"You don't start off trying to win the Grand Slam. You're just very happy to play the matches, tournaments and the thrill of going to the French Championships, Wimbledon, U.S. Open.

"It was amateur tennis. No one was really high on I've got to win this tournament for my career. There was no career, because you're playing amateur tennis.

"There was no money in it."


Image: Rod Laver
Photographs: Getty Images

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Djokovic overcomes leg strain, breathing difficulties and Ferrer

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Champion Novak Djokovic overcame a leg strain and breathing difficulties to grind down David Ferrer 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 and set up an intriguing re-match of last year's final with Andy Murray.

Leading 2-1 in the second set of his quarter-final against the Spaniard, Djokovic lurched awkwardly when chasing a ball to defend a break point, and grimaced in pain as he clutched his left leg.

Walking gingerly between points but still in full flight during play, the world number one survived a pulsating second set and stunned Ferrer by taking an early break in the third.

The fifth seed doggedly chased down everything thrown at him but was powerless to stop Djokovic's charge as the Serbian found his range in devastating form to seal the last set in 30 minutes with an ace.



Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia calls for a challenge in between games in his quarter final match against David Ferrer of Spain


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