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Rain her friend again, Maria Sharapova rolls into U.S. Open semis

September 05, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Maria Sharapova, left, shakes hands with Marion Bartoli after their match at the U.S. Open in New York.
Maria Sharapova, left, shakes hands with Marion Bartoli after their match… (Cameron Spencer / Getty…)

NEW YORK -- Third-seeded Maria Sharapova, who trailed 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli 4-0 Tuesday when rain stopped their match, came back Wednesday firing aces and deep, deep groundstrokes from both her forehand and backhand sides, and advanced to the U.S Open semifinals with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sharapova will now play first-seeded and top-ranked Victoria Azarenka in Friday's semifinals.

"That rain break gave me a few hours to think," Sharapova said. "I came out flat yesterday. It's been so, so long since I've been to this stage at the U.S. Open, so there's no reason why I couldn't have fought." Sharapova hasn't been to the semis here since she won the title in 2006.

Sharapova, 25, said her go-to attitude Wednesday was to be aggressive. She pounded in some second serves of around 100 miles per hour and aimed nearly every groundstroke at some portion of the sideline or baseline. She also saved 12 break points while Bartoli could only convert four.

For the match, Sharapova had 44 winners and 35 unforced errors, another sign she was determined to force action, win or lose. Bartoli, in comparison, had 18 winners but 25 unforced mistakes.

Sara Errani, a 25-year-old from Italy and seeded 10th, advanced to her first-ever Grand Slam-level semifinal with a quick 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow Italian and doubles partner Roberta Vinci, who was the 20th seed.

Sharapova is 12-0 in three-set matches this year. "A little bit of luck always helps," Sharapova said. "This is where it all matters."

Errani will play the winner of Wednesday's final women's quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Serena Williams and 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic.

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