Friday March 15, 2013
Sharapova storms into Indian Wells semi-finals
INDIAN WELLS (California): Maria Sharapova progressed to the semi-finals at Indian Wells on Wednesday with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory over Sara Errani in a rematch of last year’s French Open final.
The Russian beat the Italian in the Roland Garros title match last year to complete a career Grand Slam and again triumphed this time round.
With a win over the sixth seed, Sharapova reached the semi-finals in the California desert for the sixth time and said she hoped to secure a second title to go with the one she captured back in 2006.
“I’m giving myself an opportunity to be back in the final, and hopefully I will go farther this time,” said Sharapova, who was runner-up to Victoria Azarenka last year.
Sharapova was slow out of the blocks against Errani, as she was in her 7-5, 6-0 victory over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino.
The Italian broke her in the first game of the match as Sharapova delivered two double faults and although the Russian immediately regained the break she dropped her serve again in the seventh game with another brace of double faults to trail 4-3.
Sharapova buckled down, however, getting the break she needed to force a tiebreak in the 10th game before fending off a set point in the tiebreaker.
She wrapped up the match after two hours and one minute - just after the clock ticked past midnight in California.
In the semi-finals she’ll face Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, who beat 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Kirilenko, who beat third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round, improved to 6-0 in three-set matches this year and reached the Indian Wells semi-finals for the first time in 10 appearances.
“I just said to myself serve as hard as you can,” said Kirilenko, adding that by that time she could tell Kvitova was going for broke on every shot.
“Finally I reached the semi-finals!” she said. — AFP