Melbourne: Russian 10th seed Ekaterina Makarova admitted Thursday she needed to improve her mental strength after allowing second seeded compatriot Maria Sharapova to run riot in their Australian Open semi-final.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova dominated Makarova in a 6-3, 6-2 drubbing that appeared to leave the 26-year-old Muscovite on the verge of tears during the second set.
Makarova, who was appearing in her second straight Grand Slam semi after making the final four at the US Open last year, admitted she struggled with the intensity of big matches.
"I think it`s more emotions, more psychology working at this level, these matches," she said.
"It`s definitely not tennis, it`s more in the head. You need to believe a little bit more that you can be in the final."
After regularly making quarter-finals, Makarova said she needed to feel comfortable going deeper into major tournaments.
"I hope I will finally take the next step," she said.
"It was a great two Grand Slams for me in my career. So I`m happy how I`m playing, how I`m doing at these tournaments. I`ve been so many times before in the quarter-finals, so now I need to be used to being in semis."