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Makarova anticipating Sharapova showdown
Robert Grant
15:01 AEST Mon Jan 21 2013

Be careful what you wish for.

Russian Ekaterina Makarova wanted desperately to play compatriot Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open and now she will.

It's not a quarter-final many players would be relishing. But Makarova says she has a plan.

Sharapova set a new tournament record for the least number of games lost en route to the quarter-finals when she won her fourth-round match against Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

She has conceded just five in total, including consecutive whitewashes in the first two rounds.

Makarova has had to fight rather harder, conceding 37 games on her way to the last eight.

Last year Makarova reached her first-ever grand slam quarter-final in Australia, beating Serena Williams in the process.

She then lost to Sharapova - the eventual runner-up.

In all, she has lost four times to the second seed but is determined she has improved enough to reverse the outcome.

"Last year I lost to her in the quarters so I think it's really interesting," Makarova said.

"I really want to play against her. I hope I show my good tennis again."

She said her three-set third-round win over Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli had prepared her well.

"I think I'm in a good shape. I played three matches and it was really tough against Bartoli so this one gives me a lot and it helps me," she said.

Makarova was undaunted by Sharapova's run of easy victories and said she had a plan to bring her down.

"Well, she is the player like that. She won a lot of matches easily because she is playing so aggressive, staying into the court.

"I have some plan against her. We played a lot of times so we know each other."

Sharapova, who went on to win the French Open after reaching the Australian final last year, has a 34-8 win-loss record at Melbourne Park.

She won in 2008 and was a finalist in 2007 and last year.

Despite the ease of her wins, the Russian does not look back as a source of confidence.

"It's not about waiting to see where you are in the semis or finals, it's about who's ahead of you," she said.

"And my next match is against Makarova. I have to do the right things to beat her.

"If I win that, it's moving on to the next one. That's how I go about a tournament, a grand slam.

"Obviously I want to be playing my best tennis towards the end of the second week," she said.

The winner will meet either China's Li Na or Poland's fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals.


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