Maria Sharapova and Viktoria Azarenka are one step closer to replay last year's final as both ladies confidently outplayed their respective opponents and advanced to the semis of the Australian Open.
In the quarterfinal Sharapova defeated her fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in 66 minutes posting a twin score of 6-2 6-2. Maria broke her less-decorated rival five times and hammered 22 winners.
The 4 time major title holder Sharapova progressed into her 16th career Grand Slam semifinal and has a nice chance to reach the decisive match in Melbourne. As a matter of fact second seed Sharapova has dropped only nine games on her way to the semifinal and registered two double bagel wins in the opening games.
In order to reach the final of the 2013 Australian Open Sharapova will have to break the resistance of the 6th seed Li Na of China, who upset Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska on Tuesday, 7-5, 6-3.
Li has the experience of playing in the final stages of the Grand Slam championships, two years ago she sensationally reached the final in Melbourne where she was beaten by Kim Clijsters of Belgium.
An enocunter with the Chinese lady will be a tough challenge for Sharapova and you will know who will take the upper hand in this tie in our future editions of Russian Sports Daily.
As we have already announced the defending champion Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus advanced to the semis as well as she prevailed in a game against Svetlana Kuznetsova. the two time grand Slam winner Kuznetsova raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but unfortunately failed to secure this advantage in score losing three games in a row and allowing Azarenka to level the matters. Viktoria clutched at a chance and took a hard fought 7-5 victory in the first set.
The world number one got full control of the game and registered a 6-1 win in the next set.7-5 6-1 Azarenka is in the round of last four where she will be up against ......Serena Williams??? No, her next round opponent will be Sloane Stephens of the USA who created the biggest sensation at the tournament.
Seemigly endless dominance of Serena Williams ended this very Wednesday with a sensational loss to her compatriot, a 19-year-old Sloane Stephens. the 4 time Olympic champion easily won the match opener 6-3 but could do nothing in two remaining sets losing them with score of 7-5 6-4.
'I'm in the semis of a Grand Slam.' I was like, 'Whoa. It wasn't as hard as I thought.' But it's pretty cool," she said. "To be in the semis of a Grand Slam is definitely I say a good accomplishment. A lot of hard work." Sloane commented on her sensational victory.
Serena said she couldn’t play at full strength on Wednesday as she hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set and this injury made her slow down her powerful serve. Without that strong tool Serena has suffered her first defeat since August 17th.
In the men's draw, U.S. Open champion Andy Murray moved into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over unseeded Jeremy Chardy of France.
Despite the fact that there are no major international competitions taking place in rhythmic gymnastics, we still have some news for you and hopefully, what we are about to tell you, will stick... And the Russian fans of this sport will probably appreciate this more than the rest.
There have been earlier reports (including us by the way) that suggested the two-time Olympic champion, Evgenia Kanaeva, has called it quits in professional sport. but apparently she is not planning to retire and said herself that she hasn’t decided on her future in rhythmic gymnastics.
Well, the news of Kanaeva’s retirement initially appeared on the All-Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation’s website and was then considered as an official statement. But apparently, it was nothing but a misunderstanding and the athlete said that her words and actions were simply miss-interpreted by the people responsible for posting information on the Federation's website.
R-Sport news agency here in Russia quoted Evgenia Kanaeva saying the following about her future in rhythmic gymnastics:
“I really have no plans of ending my career, I’ll decide on this later. There’s still time. The most important thing is that I’m not being pressured. I’m told to take care of my health and I’ll make the decision after I recover.”
Well, hopefully, the 22 year old Russian star, who became the first woman to win two Olympic rhythmic gymnastics all-around titles, will indeed soon recover and will continue breaking records in this sport. Meanwhile, this is what she said about her injury:
“Besides the leg, I have back problems and a weakened immune system. Every athlete knows what it’s like to go through an Olympic cycle. It is impossible to stay completely healthy, especially, when you must be at the highest level throughout the whole four years.”
Well, apparently, Evgenia Kanaeva will need at least six months to fully recuperate from her injuries... And that's according to her doctors... But of course, she and her fans will be hoping the recovery will be much speedier so that she will be able to take part in the 2013 World Championships, that are scheduled to take place in Kiev, Ukraine in August.
So lets wish her the best of luck and keep our fingers crossed for a very fast recovery... meanwhile, even if Evgenia decides to quit the sport after-all... She will still be extremely useful to Russian rhythmic gymnastics, but in a different capacity.
Thats right, she is currently the vice-president of the All-Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation and her expertise in the world of sport will certainly help raise more stars in the future...
And by the way, earlier she hinted that she might retire from sport after being elected to her post in the federation and perhaps that very hint was taken as fact by the media and everyone decided that she quit competing.
Well, we are now aware that's not true, and actually we are quite happy about that misunderstanding... Here are Evgenia’s comments to R-Sport news agency in regards to that:
"I also removed myself from the doping control list, which I had to inform of my whereabouts on a daily basis for the last five years. I went abroad for treatment, and I didn’t want to be bothered, so I said that I will not participate in the upcoming competitions. Maybe that’s the reason why somebody decided that I quit.”
So let’s wish Evgenia Kanaeva to get back on that doping control list as soon as possible, and we mean that in the best way possible, of course. Meanwhile lets remind our listeners that this Russian superstar of rhythmic gymnastics is a two time Olympic champion, 17 time world champion and 13 time European champion.