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Maria Sharapova strolls into all-Russian semi tussle

By Phil Casey

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.

Sharapova defeated seventh seed 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.

"I had to have a really good performance against Genie, she has been playing so well in grand slams," Sharapova (right) said.

"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."

Makarova had earlier reached her second successive grand slam semi-final, the 26-year-old having lost to eventual winner Serena Williams in the last four of the US Open last year.

Makarova said: "It's a great feeling, I'm so happy that I came through.

"She is a tough opponent.

"It was really tough and I am happy that I stayed solid. I was used to being in quarter-finals (in grand slams) so now I have to get used to being in semi-finals."

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