Australian Open: Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray Advance to Semifinals

Maria Sharapova

What happened at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday? Usually the quarterfinals of a tournament are filled with exciting, nail-biting tennis because the top players face each other. Some of the top players faced each other, but this produced very lopsided tennis. The court completely powered one player while draining the other to nothing.

No. 3 Simona Halep played against No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova in the first match. Halep is on the verge of winning a grand slam and dethroning Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Makarova defeated Halep, 6-4, 6-0. Unfortunately, Halep did not show up. Within the first two games she hit four unforced errors. Makarova broke Halep five times. No one knew what was wrong with Halep and her statements in the media room only added more confusion.

For the third seed to say that dropped jaws. One Twitter account rightly said a only a casual player would make those remarks.

Next up was No. 2 Maria Sharapova versus No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard. This match was only slightly better with Sharapova defeating the young Canadian, 6-3, 6-2. Bouchard fought harder than Halep, but still did not appear as the elite player she has become. She hit 30 unforced errors, never broke Sharapova, and only scored 29% of her second serve points.

“I felt under pressure the whole time… and it kind of all went downhill from there,” said Bouchard after the match. “That’s not how I want to play. It’s definitely easier when you have a good start to the match.”

Needless to say Sharapova was very pleased about the match.

“I had to have a really good performance against Genie because she has been playing so well at Slams, so confident and aggressive,” said Sharapova. “I had to take that away from her. I just try to keep my ground and be that aggressive player. I’m happy to be at this stage of the tournament.”

The men followed, but the lopsided play of the women carried over. No. 7 Thomas Berdych finally beat No. 3 Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(7-5). He lost his previous 17 matches against Nadal. However, Nadal did not really show up for the match until the third set. Berdych glided threw the first set and completely dominated Nadal in the second set. Nadal showed some life in the third set, fought off three match points, but Berdych slammed home the match. Nadal did not break Berdych, but the Czech broke the Spaniard five times. Berdych also punished Nadal for his incredibly sloppy second serves.

The night match between No. 6 Andy Murray and Australian superstar Nick Kyrgios put aside some of the skewed play that hovered over the arena. Murray overpowered the 19-year-old, but the second set was close and entertaining. But overall, the match was not close. Kyrgios did not break Murray until the third set and hit sloppy second serves.