(2) Maria Sharapova vs (10) Ekaterina Makarova
Thursday's first semi-final sees compatriots, Maria Sharapova and Ekaterina Makarova do battle for a spot in the final at Melbourne Park. Maria will be the warm favourite however she will be wary of Makarova who loves an upset victory.
Ekaterina Makarova advanced to her second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final with a comprehensive 6-4 6-0 victory over Simona Halep. Makarova prevailed in a tight opening set before running away with the match in the second set. Simona had an off day, clearly some way off her best, Makarova was good enough to capitalise.
Makarova's composure under pressure was impressive, saving 8 of 9 break points in her quarter-final victory over Simona.
Makarova enters this match full of confidence, the tenth seed is the only remaining competitor to have not dropped a set throughout the tournament.
Maria Sharapova reached yet another Grand Slam semi-final with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Eugenie Bouchard. Maria produced a solid performance to continue her perfect record over Bouchard. Maria also continued her unbeaten start to the season, making it 9 consecutive victories.
Maria is now just two wins away from emulating Li Na's 2014 Australian Open triumph after saving match points in an early round match.
Maria Sharapova has a commanding 5-0 head to head record over Ekaterina Makarova. Their four most recent encounters have all been straight set victories for Maria. Their most recent match was two years ago at the Australian Open, Maria won comfortably 6-2 6-2.
This is a bad matchup for Makarova, she doesn't pose any significant threats to Maria. Makarova will not overpower Sharapova and she doesn't really have the movement and defensive skills to force a substantial amount of errors. The only way Makarova can win is if Maria is off, I don't think that will happen at this stage of a Grand Slam.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets