Sharapova sails into Australian Open quarters

Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS/R -Sport) Second seed Maria Sharapova delivered a crushing victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens Sunday to reach the women's singles quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

The Russian demolished Flipkens 6-1, 6-0 and has now dropped just five games in her first four matches in Melbourne.

"I was making a few more mistakes than I would have liked in the beginning," Sharapova said on the tournament website.

"After I held at 2-1, I really started making her play a little bit more. Started really getting under the ball and being aggressive and just had a little bit more energy which really helped me and I carried that throughout the match."

Sharapova's quarterfinal opponent is fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in a rematch from the same stage of last year's tournament.

Sharapova won that encounter 6-2, 6-3 and has never lost to the 19th seed in four meetings to date, but said she refused to look beyond her next match.

"It's not about waiting to see where you are in the semis or finals. It's about who's ahead of you and my next match is against Makarova. I have to do the right things to beat her," she said.

Makarova upset a higher-seeded player for the second round in a row Sunday, beating fifth-seeded German Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4 in an aggressive performance in which she hit 32 winners.

Makarova said she was keen for revenge over Sharapova.

"We played a lot of times, and I never beat her. So I'm really interested to play against her. She's in good form now, in good shape," she said.

Another player to reach the quarterfinals was China's sixth seed Li Na, who disposed of eighth-seeded German Julia Goerges 7-6(6), 6-1.

The key to Li's victory was Goerges missing a set point in the first set, the Chinese player said.

"I was laughing a little bit. I was happy I'm still on the first set, you know. After the first set, I think she had a breakdown a little bit in the mind," Li said.

Li goes on to play either fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland or Serbian 13th seed Ana Ivanovic.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

bs/sog

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