MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Maria Sharapova has reached the Australian Open final for the fourth time, beating fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2 in a lopsided semifinal on Thursday.
The second-ranked Sharapova needed 10 minutes to hold in her opening service game, fending off two break points. She responded to the only service break against her in the first set by winning six straight games to take the match away from the 10th-seeded Makarova, who had only taken one set off her in five previous matches.
She will next meet the winner of the all-American semifinal between top-ranked Serena Williams and 19-year-old Madison Keys.
Sharapova won the Australia Open title in 2008 and lost finals in 2007 and 2012. She opened the season by winning the Brisbane International title.
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