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IMG Academy trainees Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens reach semi-finals of Australian Open

Maria Sharapova competing in the Australian Open. (picture courtesy of tennisearth.com)

IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis trainees are faring well in the women’s division of the 2013 Australian Open. Heading into the quarterfinal round, Maria Sharapova was matched against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Makarova currently sits as the No. 19 ranked singles player, but was no match for world No. 2 Sharapova who rolled over her opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Sharapova will play China’s Na Li.

On the other side of the bracket, IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis trainees Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens faced off in what seemed to be a David vs. Goliath match. Williams has an impressive history at the Australian Open, having won five career titles at the event. Stephens on the other hand, still a teenager, has never made it past the fourth round of an open. She entered the tournament 29-seed, while Williams was ranked the No. 3 player in the world. But that did not deter Stephens from playing the game of her life, winning 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals. Next up is world No. 1 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion of the Australian Open.

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