Maria Sharapova will play Jelena Jankovic for the Cincinnati Open title after both came through their semi-finals on Saturday.


Sharapova recovered from a poor start to beat fellow Russian and world number two Vera Zvonareva 2-6 6-3 6-3 while Jankovic beat Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 7-6 6-1. “It is going to be a tough match, she is playing very well,” Jankovic said of Sharapova, who holds a 5-1 record in their career meetings. “I feel good the way I am playing though and I hope I can play like that again in the final.” Sharapova, who is currently ranked seventh in the world, had to fight back after dropping the opening set against Zvonareva. “I had a slow start, to say the least,” Sharapova said. “I needed to get my energy back and when I did that I started to make some shots and was able to turn it around.” Zvonareva said she had lost her concentration after dominating the opening set. “In the second and third my concentration level dropped a bit in some moments and I had a few more double faults, that gave her some confidence and I also gave her some more chances,” she said. “It was tough because if you give Maria chances, she is going to take them.”

Jankovic, who won in Cincinnati two years ago, also struggled in the first set against Petkovic, who played with one leg heavily strapped. The Serb made some odd shot selections as well as unforced errors, but after winning the tie-break 7-4 she never looked back and Petkovic was never in the second set. The German later revealed that she had spent much of the day undergoing scans on what she feared was an anterior cruciate ligament injury but which turned out to be a mildly torn meniscus. “It was a very draining day emotionally…I cried enough for the next 20 years,” said Petkovic, who said her parents had tried to stop her playing.


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