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Australian Open 2015: Sharapova, Serena win semifinal matches to set up blockbuster final

Jai Prakash
3.01K   //    29 Jan 2015, 15:17 IST

After 11 days of scintillating tennis action that saw many incredible matches, we have our two finalists in the women’s draw – World No. 1 Serena Williams and World No. 2 Maria Sharapova. Both women beat their compatriots in the semifinal today.

Note: You can watch the final live on Sony Liv Sports here. 

Semifinal 1: Maria Sharapova thrashes compatriot Ekaterina Makarova

The No. 2 seed got off to a shaky start on her serve as Makarova attacked from the word go. Sharapova dug deep from 15-40 down to finally hold her serve after 10 minutes. She then put Makarova under pressure in the next service game and the 10th seed falied to withstand it, handing the early advantage to Sharapova.

The five-time Slam winner led 4-1 before the No. 10 seed broke Sharapova’s serve in the seventh game to get back on serve in the first set. But Sharapova struck right back, breaking Makarova’s serve and winning eight of the last nine points to wrap the first set in 48 minutes.

Makarova registered a sub-par 58% first serve percentage and committed 14 unforced errors in an erratic first set. Sharapova on the other hand committed 15 unforced errors, but hit 15 winners against just 5 by Makarova.

The second set was one-way traffic with Sharapova winning the first three games which included a double break of serve. There was no looking back for the 2008 champion as she won 93% points on her first serve and committed just 11 unforced errors. Makarova did not make use of two break point opportunities and struggled to win more than 55% points on her first serve. 

Makarova had taken just one set from Sharapova in their five previous meetings and her performance today showed why. Sharapova played super-aggressive tennis and Makarova had no answer to that, failing to recover from the early setback in the opening set.

Match Result: Maria sharapova beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.


Semifinal 2: Serena Williams overcomes Madison Keys challenge

Madison Keys reached her first Grand Slam semifinal after beating Venus Williams in three tight sets. But she came into the match against Venus’ younger sister Serena Williams with a thigh injury that she sustained in the second set of the quarterfinals.

That did not seem to hamper the 19-year-old though as she broke in Williams’ first service game with some aggressive tennis. Williams was looking a little taken aback by her younger opponent’s power, and she could only break back later in the set to send the set to a tiebreak.

Keys saved two set points in the breaker, but it was Williams who converted on her third set point to lead by a set to love after 45 minutes. The young American committed 18 unforced errors against just 9 by Williams.

The second set wasn’t as close as the first one with Williams breaking Keys’ serve on two occasions. Keys won just 52% points on her first serve and failed to convert her two break point opportunities. Unforced errors hurt the young American as she committed 21 errors against Willaims’ 7. 

Keys saved seven match points in a marathon seventh game, but Williams served an ace on her ninth match point opportunity to close out the match.

Match Result: Serena Williams beat Madison Keys 7-6 (5), 6-2.

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