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Makarova has nothing to lose - Sharapova

Makarova has nothing to lose - Sharapova

Ekaterina Makarova has nothing to lose in the Australian Open semi-finals, upcoming opponent Maria Sharapova claimed.

Maria Sharapova said she is preparing herself for a free-wheeling Ekaterina Makarova in the Australian Open semi-finals.

Second seed Sharapova dismissed Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena, to advance to the last four at Melbourne Park for the third time in four years.

She set up a semi-final against fellow Russian Makarova, with Sharapova claiming the 10th seed has nothing to lose ahead of their Thursday encounter.

"Well, besides playing another Russian, I'm also facing an opponent that wasn't necessarily a favourite coming into that stage," Sharapova said.

"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. 

"But I'll be looking out for that, work on a few things tomorrow, and be ready for that match."

Bouchard was typically defiant in defeat, claiming she had higher expectations after bowing out - her first two appearances in Melbourne have been semi- and quarter-final defeats.

"I'm never happy with losing. I wanted to obviously win today, win the tournament," Bouchard said.

"But I feel like I dealt with pressure, outside expectations well. I wasn't really focused on the whole defending [rankings points] thing. 

"I really just tried to block that out of my mind. So I think that helped me get through the first week, get through some matches that could have been tricky. 

"But I always want to do better, especially than the year before. I'm always trying to aim for that."

Bouchard was actively pushing the case to attack Sharapova - especially on return of serve - but it failed to amount to anything, as she landed only 14 of 26 returns in the first set.

"Well, I still wanted to try to kind of go for it. But if I don't have enough time I probably go for riskier shots and that's why I would miss a few more," the Canadian said.

"That's why I think I made a few too many unforced errors today. Just feeling under pressure, feeling I had to go for something. 

"That's what she [Sharapova] does well: she puts pressure on her opponents. 

"But I have to be able to get out of my own way, step in, go for it, and when I get my shorter balls, to really finish the point."

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