Found January 24, 2012 on In the Tramlines:

The interesting thing about the last two women's quarterfinals of the 2012 Australian Open is that both pit a tournament favorite against an unknown.  Since this tournament for the women has been full of upsets, it is only natural to wonder whether or not this trend will continue.  If not, the second semifinal will be a re-match of the 2011 Wimbledon Final. Here's a closer look at the last two women's quarterfinals.

Sara Errani vs. Petra Kvitova [2]

Unknown Italian Sara Errani is into her first Major quarterfinal, having taken advanatge of the first upset of the tournament, a loss by Samantha Stosur in the opening round.  Because her draw opened up, Errani has only played one seeded player, Nadia Petrova, en route to the quarterfinals.  Besides Petrova, the next best player the 24 year-old Italian has faced in Melbourne is Jie Zheng, who she took out 6-2 6-1.  While she will be the overwhelming underdog against Petra Kvitova, do not sleep on the Italian.  Expect her to come out playing her best tennis, knowing she was a long shot to make it this deep into the tournament.  Petra Kvitova, the No. 2 player in the world, finished 2011 on a very high note, winning the WTA Championships.  Coming into the Australian Open, she was one of the favorites, and she has not disappointed.  Besides a tough second round match against Carla Suarez Navarro, Petra has rolled through to the quarterfinals, her most impressive win being a straight-set victory over Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.  Kvitova's game has been solid so far in Melbourne.  She has been serving extremely well, and the angles she can hit from the baseline on both sides are simply unbelievable.  She will need to be on her game, however, in order to get past the pesky Sara Errani.  In the end, Kvitova will overpower her opponent en route to a semifinal birth. 

Ekaterina Makarova vs. Maria Sharapova [4]

Ekaterina Makarova, coming off a surprise dismantling of Serena Williams in the fourth round, faces the suddenly resurgent Maria Sharapova for a birth in the semifinals.  The more interesting of the two quarterfinals being played on Wednesday in Melbourne, this match looks to be very entertaining.  Makarova, a 23 year-old Russian lefty, is very solid from both wings but will not overpower many opponents, especially not Maria Sharapova.  Sharapova will need to be sharp in order to avoid racking up the unforced errors.  Makarova will make Sharapova work for every point, and it will be critical for Maria to stay focused and to not get frustrated if her shots are not going in.  Based on how she has played so far in the tournament, Sharapova looks to be striking the ball very well.  Her serve has been shaky at times, as it has been for almost her entire career.  If Maria's serve is sharp throughout this match, it will give her ample opportunities to focus on her return game, which should lead to several break opportunities.  Makarova will be coming into this match really believing she can win based on her performance against Serena, so Sharapova cannot take her countrywoman lightly.  This figures to be a back and forth affair, with the better player prevailing in three sets.  These two quarterfinal matches will be both played on Rod Laver Arena during the day session, so make sure to tune in! 

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