Friday, March 18, 2011
Sharapova advances to Semi.
It will be the fourth time that Sharapova and Wozniacki are facing off in tour-level competition. Sharapova won their first two meetings before Wozniacki defeated the Russian in straight sets last year at the US Open.
“She's the No. 1 player in the world, and she certainly deserves it,” said Sharapova, who held the No. 1 ranking for 17 weeks, most recently in 2007. “She's doing a lot of things really well right now and she's a very consistent player. That has won her many, many matches.
“I didn't have a great match against her at the US Open. I didn't feel like I played that well. I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll come out and it will be a different situation. I'm just gonna fight for every point. I look forward to it.”
Sharapova spent nearly two more hours on court than Wozniacki, who advanced after 26 minutes of play when Victoria Azarenka retired with a left hip injury.
Though Sharapova made a comfortable start to the match, going up a set and a break, she dropped serve three times in the second set to allow the 36th-ranked Peng to draw level. She lost serve two more times in the decisive set, but took full advantage of her break points, going 4 for 4 on her chances to close out the victory.
“I'm really happy to be in the semis of this tournament,” said Sharapova. “I felt like I was playing really well for the first set and a half, and then really let her back in the game… She's a really aggressive player and puts a lot of pressure on you from the first point, and if you're not the one doing that, it becomes dangerous. That's what happened. I just started making too many errors.
“But then, most important thing is I got myself together, and I focused and regrouped. The match is never over till the last point, so I was really strong, and I'm really happy about that.”
Sharapova, the 2006 titlist, advances to the semi-finals at the BNP Paribas Open for a fourth time. She is the last former champion remaining in the 2011 draw following the exits of Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva, Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova and Kim Clijsters.
The 23 year old is making her first main draw appearance since the Australian Open, sidelined for five weeks with an upper respiratory viral illness, and will be looking to reach her first final since last August in Cincinnati