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Sharapova keeps title quest on track

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CLOSER TO GLORY:Maria Sharapova dispatched Jelena Jankovic in straight sets to reach her fifth final at Mimai on Thursday.— PHOTO: AP
CLOSER TO GLORY:Maria Sharapova dispatched Jelena Jankovic in straight sets to reach her fifth final at Mimai on Thursday.— PHOTO: AP

Maria Sharapova, seeking her first title at the Miami WTA hardcourt event, advanced to her fifth final here on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Serbian Jelena Jankovic.

The Russian had entered the last four with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 quarterfinal win over Italy’s Sara Errani, while former world No. 1 Jankovic defeated Italian Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.

“It would mean so much to me,” Sharapova said of a Miami title. “The fans give me so much support here. I love this city. It was the first city I came to in this country when I was a little girl and I would love to win here.”

Four-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova lost to Kim Clijsters in the 2005 Miami final, to Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2006, Victoria Azarenka in 2011 and Radwanska last year — all in straight sets.

Not only is Sharapova trying to end her Florida frustration, she is trying to become only the third woman to win both major March events, Indian Wells and Miami, in the same year. German great Steffi Graf swept the pair in 1994 and 1996 and Clijsters did it in 2005.

Ferrer in semifinals

Third-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer led the way into the men’s semifinals as he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over unseeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Ferrer steadied after an erratic first set and eventually cruised through the third to improve to 7-2 against the Austrian left-hander.

Ferrer next faces Germany's giant-killer Tommy Haas, who defeated France's Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1.

Haas, at 34 the oldest player ranked in the top 50 in the world, showed no sign of a letdown a day after he toppled world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.

The results: Men: Quarterfinals: David Ferrer bt Jurgen Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-0; Tommy Haas bt Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1

Women: Semifinals: Maria Sharapova bt Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1. Quarterfinals: Sharapova bt Sara Errani 7-5, 7-5; Jankovic bt Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3. — AFP

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