Friday, March 29, 2013
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - Maria Sharapova swept the first 10 points Thursday, then hardly let up from there. If she can keep it going for one more round, she'll finally have that elusive Sony Open title.
The four-time runner-up advanced to another Key Biscayne final by beating Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1.
With a victory Saturday, the No. 3seeded Sharapova would plug one of the few holes in her resume. She completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open last year but has never won the tournament near downtown Miami.
"It would mean so much to me," the Russian said. "I absolutely love this city. It's the first city I landed in when I came to the United States as a little girl."
Sharapova will face the winner of Thursday night's match between five-time champion Serena Williams and defending champ Agnieszka Radwanska.
Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals by beating No. 9 Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3. Murray has yet to drop a set, and his path is made easier because Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, and Novak Djokovic lost in the fourth round.
"Obviously if they aren't there, then you don't have to play against two or three of the best players that have played the game," Murray said. "So it's not as challenging. I always enjoy playing against them because it's good for me. It's a good test of my game."
Murray's opponent Friday night will be No. 8 Richard Gasquet, who beat No. 4 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3. The other semifinal will match No. 3 David Ferrer against 34-year-old Tommy Haas, who upset Djokovic.
Sharapova won seven consecutive games during one stretch against the No. 22-seeded Jankovic. Sharapova committed only 10 unforced errors from the baseline in 88 points while breaking serve six times.
Sharapova took the Indian Wells title two weeks ago and has won 22 consecutive sets, a career best, while winning 11 matches in a row. But she endured a sloppy quarterfinal against Sara Errani, winning despite 57 unforced errors, including 13 double-faults.