Sharapova books semi-final spot
Maria Sharapova is into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after edging out Sara Errani 7-6(6) 6-2.
In a repeat of last year's French Open final - which Sharapova won to complete a career Grand Slam - the Russian came fighting back in the first set from 5-3 down and saved two set points to eventually take it in a tiebreak.
And the world No. 3 kicked on from there, only dropping two games en route to completing a straight sets win over the feisty Italian sixth seed.
"I didn't play my best tennis throughout the whole match. Sara had many opportunities to win the first set," Sharapova said after the victory.
"But I stayed strong and tough. Although I wasn't playing at the highest level, I tried to be as consistent as possible and hang in there. Once I got the first set, I got in a better rhythm, which helped me and gave me more confidence."
Sharapova is aiming to win the premier event at Indian Wells for a second time having triumphed seven years ago, and the 25-year-old will have an all-Russian tussle to contend with in the semi-finals as she will be taking on Maria Kirilenko, who defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the day's other quarter-final by coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-4 6-3.
After dropping the opening set Kirilenko was staring elimination right in the face when she was down a break at 4-2 in the second having lost ten straight games. However, the 13th seed raised her level despite an injury scare and halted the Kvitova charge to complete a fine comeback.
"Finally I reached the semi-finals," a delighted Kirilenko said. "I'm really happy I won this match. I had some problems with my knee during the first set but was able to keep fighting and win."