Serve doesn't stop Sharapova reaching semis

ESPN staff
March 27, 2013

Maria Sharapova moved into the semi-finals of the Sony Open after a hard-fought victory over Sara Errani on Wednesday.

In a repeat of the 2012 French Open final - won on that occasion by the Russian - Sharapova was forced to overcome obstacles, often of her own making, to clinch victory; ultimately securing a 7-5 7-5 triumph.

It was not a quarter-final of the highest quality, with both players struggling somewhat on their serve. Sharapova had 14 double faults during the contest but, with Errani tentative on her own delivery, was able to stay in the contest with the ferocity of her returns, claiming the opening set with a timely late break.

The second stanza followed in almost repeat fashion, although Errani did step up her play as the end loomed - forcing a couple of set points that Sharapova scrambled to save.

After overcoming that period of choppy waters Sharapova then engineered her own opportunity to clinch the contest, and duly converted as she moved within one match of the tournament final.

"I made things much more difficult than they should have been," she said. "She really made me work for this match. I had to dig deep - so many opportunities, a few ups and downs. I'm definitely happy to get through another one."

Seeded No. 3, Sharapova will face Jelena Jankovic who beat Roberta Vinci 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3.

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