Sharapova Rallies Again To Reach Final
by Dana Hatic|
After a three-year hiatus from the tournament, Maria Sharapova advanced to her third final at the Sony Ericsson Open today when she powered through a 2 hrs., 7 mins. match to defeat Andrea Petkovic 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Although Sharapova started the match slowly with three double faults in the first set, she steamrolled through the second, clinching three breaks. The No. 16 seed carried this strength into the third set, where she won the first five games. Petkovic managed to end Sharapova’s 11-game streak with a solid service game, and went on to break the Russian, who served her eighth double fault of the match.
Sharapova explained her early performance in the match and how she turned the match around. “I felt like I was just making a lot errors in the first set and I wasn't moving my feet at all. And especially with the wind I wasn't moving towards the ball and letting the ball come to me and not really being aggressive,” she said.
After breaking Sharapova, Petkovic served to stay in the match and won two straight points, but Sharapova evened the game and set up match point with a forehand winner down the line. The game went to deuce, but Petkovic hit her final shot into the net, and Sharapova erupted with elation, winning her second consecutive three-set match and securing a berth in Saturday’s final.
“I felt like Maria really stepped up her game,” said Petkovic, noting the changes from the first set to the second. “There were so many close games, deuce, advantage, advantage, so many break points, game points, and I didn't manage to stay close to her.”
Sharapova said her return game contributed to a large part of her success today. “I've been returning quite well throughout this tournament, and it's something that's going to be quite important in the final,” she noted.
| Sharapova Interview | Petkovic Interview
Both Sharapova and Petkovic reached today’s semi-final following three-set matches, each coming back from down a set to do so. Petkovic upset the No. 6 seed, Jelena Jankovic, after a rain delay, and Sharapova defeated the hardy Alexandra Dulgheru, playing two tie-breaks in the longest quarter-final match in 3 hrs., 29 mins.
With 23 winners and seven service breaks, Sharapova advances to face No. 8 seed Victoria Azarenka.
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