Sharapova, Azarenka make French Open semifinals

June 5, 2013 at 10:53 AM
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PARIS, June 5 (UPI) -- Defending champion Maria Sharapova and third-seeded Victoria Azarenka earned places in the French Open semifinals with wins Wednesday.

Sharapova, the No. 2 seed, overcame a poor first set in taking a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision from 18th-seeded Jelena Jankovic. Azarenka eliminated 12th-seeded Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.

Sharapova moves into the semifinals for the third consecutive French Open and for the seventh time in the last nine major tournaments. Azarenka, who is to play Sharapova in the semis Thursday, is in the French Open semifinals for the first time but has been a semifinalist in six of the last eight Grand Slam events.

Sharapova had 20 unforced errors in the first set to four for Jankovic, who jumped out to the one-set lead in 29 minutes. But Sharapova opened the second set with a break and built a 5-1 lead before putting the set away with a love service game.

Sharapova got the first break of the third set in the seventh game, fought off a break point in holding serve and advanced with her fourth break of the match.

Azarenka and Kirilenko traded four breaks to open their match and both broke the other again in the 11th and 12th games to force the tiebreaker. Azarenka took over from there, winning five consecutive points to get to 6-1.

She posted a break in the fourth game of the second set and completed the victory with a break at 15. It was her fifth of the day.

Azarenka owns a 7-5 wedge over Sharapova in career meetings. They have met in major tournament matches twice, with Azarenka defeating Sharapova in three sets in the semifinals of the 2012 U.S. Open and in straight sets in the 2012 Australian Open final.

The other semifinal Thursday has world No. 1 Serena Williams going against fifth-seeded Sara Errani. Williams is 5-0 versus Errani, including a win in the other U.S. Open semifinal last year.

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