• Australian Open, Day 10

What They Said

ESPN staff
January 25, 2012 « Murray cruises to win over Nishikori | Chartbeat test »
Maria Sharapova was hugely impressive in her win over Ekaterina Makarova © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic admitted the second set was crucial after he fought off fatigue and potential injury to defeat David Ferrer: "It was a great match, we played almost three hours and of those three hours I think the first half an hour was just the first two games!" Djokovic quipped. "[I thought] 'Wow, this is going to be a long night!' I was lucky to get out of that second set. There was a big mental advantage to get two sets up.

"You have to hang in there, especially with a player like Ferrer - he's a great competitor, he's someone that has great fighting spirit, he never gives up, he makes you play. I needed to come up with winners. I wasn't feeling very fresh but I figured if I wanted to stop him I needed to be closer to the line because that's the only way I can win."

Petra Kvitova beat Sara Errani in straight sets but has admitted it was a tough match. She said: "The beginning I was a little nervous because I knew that everybody expected it would be an easy match. Probably I had in my head that it's a good draw. But, anyway, Sara played very well and she was great. She had a great tournament here."

Kvitova also played down concerns over her fitness after appearing on court with strapping on her left leg. She said: "I felt a little my left hamstring like two days ago. I have to say that today was much better than yesterday, for example. The tape was there, it wasn't too bad, but it was like for protection today."

Maria Sharapova eased to a straight sets win over Ekaterina Makarova and spoke of her happiness with her comeback from serious injury. She said: "It has been a long road back to this stage, but those winning points you look back on and everything is worth it. Playing tennis is what I love and I always felt like I could have achieved more and that is why I kept going."

Kvitova is up next for Sharapova and the No. 4 seed is looking to exact revenge from her defeat in last year's Wimbledon final. She said: "I have lost to her the last couple of times, the tough one at Wimbledon where she played extremely well. She is the one to beat right now, she is full of confidence and playing the best tennis on tour. It will be a tough game, but the tough ones are what it comes down to and I am looking forward to it."

Ekaterina Makarova has conceded she was not given any chance to impose herself due to the impressive play of Sharapova. She said: "She's a great player. She played really good today, so aggressive. Maybe I couldn't show my best tennis because she was pushing me back all the time. I should have moved her and made her run. Sometimes I didn't do that because she played so aggressive and pushed me all the time. It was difficult."

Andy Murray had little trouble in defeating Kei Nishikori, but is aware he will need to improve on serve in his semi-final. He said: "I thought it was a good match, a lot of good points. Most of the fun points he was winning, so I was trying to keep them short. He has played a few long matches, he fought well in the first two sets, but I played better in the third. I think I need to serve better, I did not serve particularly well. I returned well, which is a positive, but I need to serve better."

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