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Sharapova into semis after Stosur marathon


06:50 AM April 28th, 2012

April 28th, 2012 06:50 AM

Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a backhand against Australian Samantha Stosur during their quarterfinal match at the Porsche tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, Friday, April 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

STUTTGART, Germany – Maria Sharapova needed more than three hours to complete a marathon three-set comeback against US Open winner Sam Stosur to reach Saturday’s semi-finals at the Stuttgart WTA claycourt tournament.

Having won the first set tie-breaker, Stosur served for the match at 5-4 in the second only for Sharapova to hit back to claim a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 victory after three hours, one minute on court.

The world number two hit 11 aces, compared to Stosur’s seven, and as the quarter-final finished at just before 2300 local time, the Russian said recovery was her main concern.

“She has a great serve and she served as well as she ever has against me,” said Sharapova, who will play either Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or Germany’s Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s semi-final.

“It was pretty difficult to play against her, so I am very happy with the win. It’s not over until the last point has been played and you’ve shaken hands.

“She had her chances to win, so I am just happy to have reached the last four.”

In the other semi-final, top seed and world number one Victoria Azarenka will play fourth-seed Agnieska Radwanska of Poland.

All of Radwanska’s four losses this year have come at the hands of Azarenka and having also reached the semi-finals here last year, the Polish number one said it takes a special effort to beat the world’s top female player.

“You have to be at the top of your game and play some great tennis to beat her,” admitted Radwanska.

Azarenka needed nearly three hours to see off German wildcard Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 as her big-hitting opponent smashed down 13 aces.

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