Tennis

Sharapova reaches Miami final

2012-03-29 22:03
Maria Sharapova (File)

Miami - Three-time runner-up Maria Sharapova booked her second straight Miami final on Thursday, rallying to beat disgruntled Caroline Wozniacki and set up a title clash with Agnieszka Radwanska.

Sharapova clinched a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 semi-final victory over the Dane after two hours, 34 minutes, the match ending in acrimony as Wozniacki objected to the chair umpire's overrule of a call to Sharapova's benefit on match point.

World number four Radwanska's 6-4, 6-2 victory over Marion Bartoli was more straightforward, but included an injury to the seventh-seeded French player as well as a power outage that held up proceedings in the second set.

"For sure one of the weirdest matches, especially the lights," said Poland's Radwanska, who led 4-2 in the second set when the court went dark.

"You're really focused on the match and really want to finish in two sets. Suddenly, the lights go off."

She kept her concentration and returned to finish off Bartoli, who reached the semi-finals by handing world number one Victoria Azarenka her first defeat of 2012.

A day after that triumph, Bartoli was hindered by a left thigh injury and had 35 unforced errors, failing to hold serve once.

Radwanska's reward was a meeting with Sharapova, who has won seven of their eight encounters.

"I'm just going to try to play aggressive and mix everything," Radwanska said. "We'll see what's going to work."

Sharapova was serving for the match and up 40-30 when her second serve was called long -- a call overruled by the chair umpire, who ordered the point replayed.

Wozniacki did not like it, but was out of video challenges.

Sharapova stepped up to serve again, working her way into position to put away a forehand for the victory.

Wozniacki, who declined to shake hands with the chair umpire after the match, said it did not matter that television replays showed he was correct.

"I think when the ball is so close that I think he should give her a chance to challenge at least when I don't have any challenges," Wozniacki said.

"She was going to challenge it, anyways. So if it shows it's good, it's good. If it shows it's out, it's out. The ball was so close that it might as well have been out."

Sharapova said she would have certainly challenged the call if the umpire had not overruled it.

"It is a tough situation to be in because it is close to the end of the match and both of us fought so hard for over two hours and you don't want the match to end like that," she said.

Sharapova is now a perfect 4-0 in semi-finals in Miami -- but 0-3 in finals.

She was delighted to have a chance to end that run.

"It's always disappointing to lose in the finals, but it's part of the career," Sharapova said of her near-misses in Miami. "I'm happy that I gave myself another chance to go out there and try to change that.

"It would just be meaningful to me because I have come to this tournament for so many years, ever since I was a young girl," said Sharapova, who recalled coming to the event as a spectator as a youngster.

"I have always just dreamt of playing on this court let alone being in the finals of it. It would just be really meaningful to me."

Results on Thursday from the $9.6 million ATP and WTA Miami hardcourt tournament (x denotes seed):

Men

Quarter-finals


Juan Monaco (ARG x21) bt Mardy Fish (USA x8) 6-1, 6-3
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt David Ferrer (ESP x5) 6-2, 7-6 (7/1)

Women

Semi-finals


Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x4) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x5) bt Marion Bartoli (FRA x7) 6-4, 6-2

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