Russian Ekaterina Makarova returns to giant-killer mode
IT MAY not have sent the same shockwaves around the tennis world as Andreas Seppi's stunning upset of men's world No.2 Roger Federer.
But Russian Ekaterina Makarova's dominant 6-4 6-0 win over women's world No.3 Simona Halep, which catapulted her into an Australian Open semi-final showdown with compatriot Maria Sharapova, was still one of the biggest surprises of the tournament.
Makarova said she felt comfortable on the blue surface at Melbourne Park, adding she felt a similarity to playing in New York where she burst to prominence in last year's US Open.
The 26-year-old (pictured) claimed some big scalps, including Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka, in that tournament without dropping a set, before losing to eventual winner Serena Williams in the semi-finals.
"It's all atmosphere and all that may be memories from New York. I bring it here," Makarova said.
Despite the ease of her win against Halep, the Russian said she would have to step her game up again to beat Sharapova for the first time after the No.2 seed pushed her title claims with a routine 6-3 6-2 win over a disappointing Bouchard.
"I never beat her, so it will be tough," Makarova said.
"Definitely she's a great fighter. Like here on the second round, she almost lost, but she turned around.
"I need to believe to myself and don't really think that it's semis, that I'm one step from (the) final. So it's just a normal match like always, you know. Just go out there and enjoy my game."