Czech Petra Kvitova will meet Russian Maria Sharapova in a semi-final of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Kvitova beat unseeded Italian Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4 while Sharapova overpowered compatriot Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
Their clash will be a repeat of last year's Wimbledon final, which Kvitova won in straight sets.
Kvitova reached her first Australian semi-final after snuffing out a brief fight-back from Errani in the second set.
The clear favourite, the number two seed broke serve in the opening game of the match but found herself staring down a service break in the next as the pair fought for an edge.
The Czech took the crucial break to win the first set in 53 minutes before Errani battled her way to a 4-1 edge in the second set.
That was where her challenge ended though as Kvitova won the next five games straight, amassing three match points and sealing the clash after Errani netted a return.
"I expected a tough match because she has been playing well and also today played well," Kvitova said.
"Backhand or forehand, I never knew where the ball would come to so I had to concentrate on every point and always think about tactics."
Sharapova won the Australian title in 2008 but that August she underwent shoulder surgery and was sidelined for 10 months.
But on Wednesday the fourth seed displayed a pinpoint serve and power-packed returns to overwhelm Makarova.
She cruised through the first set in 42 minutes but had to fight to seal the match as Makarova saved three match points.
Sharapova eventually clinched a berth in the semis in one hour and 27 minutes.
"It's been a long road back but after all those winning points it's been worth it," said Sharapova, who anticipated a tough battle against Kvitova.
"She is playing the best tennis," she said.
Both Sharapova and Kvitova have a chance of becoming the world number one at the end of the Open.
AAPTags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia First posted January 25, 2012 13:27:21