Sharapova turns on the style
Maria Sharapova continued her serene progress through the Australian Open field with a straight-sets demolition of Ekaterina Makarova.
The second seed, who had dropped just five games en route to the last eight, was never really troubled as she secured a 6-2 6-2 triumph in just 66 minutes and she will next face Li Na in the semi-finals.
Makarova, the No 19 seed, had fancied her chances of causing an upset - having already accounted for higher-ranker Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli in Melbourne.
However she never looked like she would be able to end her winless run against her fellow Russian.
Sharapova broke early in the opening set and although Makarova hit back immediately, the 2008 champion fired off four successive games to take command.
Sharapova broke again at the start of the second set to underline her dominance, with Makarova's misfiring serve presenting her with plenty of opportunities.
A second break somewhat inevitably followed and although Makarova then held, Sharapova served out for the match.
Sharapova, who is through to her 16th grand slam semi-final, will now face Li, who dumped out Agnieszka Radwanska.
The Russian has spent just five hours and 15 minutes on court so far in the tournament - an unprecedented run in Australia.
She insisted that despite the scoreline, beating Makarova is not easy.
"No matter what our record is, we always have close matches," she said. "It was quite close in the beginning today, we exchanged breaks of serves, but I think I ended up being the more aggressive player.
"Today was a matter of staying focused because I know how excited she was to play me."
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