Sharapova prevails after Russian battle

Maria Sharapova overcame a spirited performance by Russian compatriot Nadia Petrova to book a place in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Maria Sharapova overcame a spirited performance by Russian compatriot Nadia Petrova to book a place in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The world number four will now face the winner of the clash between top seed Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin-Hardenne.

The match was notable for the copious number of errors both players committed rather than the style of tennis expected at the quarter-final level.

However, a gritty fightback by the tournament’s fourth seed eventually saw her home 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after Petrova failed to capitalise on numerous chances.

Petrova, seeded sixth, started the clash in the best possible fashion with an easy break of Sharapova’s opening service game.

However, she soon allowed the former world number one to break her serve several games later in response.

Petrova regained the lead with two more important service breaks in the first set, but each time Sharapova managed to break back and the set was forced into a tie-break.

Petrova quickly went 6-4 ahead with a serve to take the set but it was Sharapova who dug deep to win 8-6 after her opponent double faulted.

The former Wimbledon champion then broke Petrova’s service game to start the second set and pulled further in front with another service break to lead 4-1.

However, Petrova continued to fight back and managed to break her opponent’s next service game to make the contest a little tighter.

But the world number four ran away with the second set after holding off three break points to serve out the match.

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