Maria Sharapova dominated Eugenie Bouchard as she cruised to victory in straight sets to set up a last-4 tie with world No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova.
Playing against her one-time role model, Canada’s seventh seed Bouchard had no chance against the plain sailing Sharapova, who snuffed out a 6-3 6-2 win in just one hour and 18 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
The Russian was making a meal of Bouchard’s second serve- taking 15 points from her younger version’s total of 21- while the latter’s slow start and 30 unforced errors resulted to the only obvious outcome- Shrapova through to her 7th Australian Open semi-finals.
“I think she (Bourchard) has been doing an incredible job so far,” said Sharapova when asked what is the one thing her opponent need do right. “Two years ago I believe she was qualifier here; two years later she’s No. 7 and getting really far in majors and pushing, breaking through to maybe win one.”
After breaking serve to go 3-1 up in the opening set, Bouchard threatened to tie the sixth game at 3-2 but Sharapova was not going to give away those break points and rallies on her way to finishing off 6-3.
Again she broke early in the second set and moved ahead 4-1 as Bouchard’s error count continued piling up.
The only array of hope for the Canadian came in the sixth game; when she held serve to close in 2-4 after Sharapova challenged incorrectly a call on the baseline.
But the world No. 2 held to love to move 5-2 ahead and, with scores tied at deuce in the next game, she fired two unfriendly winners to end Bouchard’s journey in Melbourne Park.
“I felt pretty good from the start,” Sharapova quipped. “I Thought I had a really god start. I kept my focus throughout the whole match. I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important.”
On facing compatriot Makarova, who went from a nobody to somebody on Tuesday after winning third seed Simona Halep 6-4 6-0, she said: “I am also facing an opponent that wasn’t necessarily a favourite coming into that stage (last eight). That’s always a tricky situation because she’s going to come into that match free and almost happy to be in that situation and that’s dangerous.
“I haven’t faced a lefty in this tournament yet. She’s been using her lefty serve extremely well from what I’ve seen. I’ll be looking out for that, work on a few things tomorrow, and be ready for that match.”