Maria Sharapova avenged her Wimbledon defeat by beating Petra Kvitova to reach the final of the Australian Open.


Sharapova lost out to the 21-year-old in straight sets in the final at the All-England Club but she settled the score as she recorded a 6-2 3-6 6-4 victory in Melbourne. The fourth seed, who won here in 2008, will now face Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s final.

Sharapova, though, had to dig deep to secure the win after going a break down in the deciding set, while her serve continued to misfire throughout. In fact Sharapova was guilty of conceding 10 double faults. The Russian’s powerful strokeplay was enough to see her outlast the second seed. And having fashioned two match points in the 10th game of third set, Sharapova took the opportunity to book her final at the Australian Open. “I felt like in the third set she always had the advantage,” Sharapova said. “I just thought to myself you’ve just got to go for it. “I just hung in there and got a few returns in there in the last game. “I love this sport and sometimes even if you’re not playing your best tennis, you can find a way to win.” Kvitova looked completely out of sorts in the first set, with her movement particularly suspect. Sharapova, on the other hand, was full of intensity and forced an early break from the Czech and although her opponent hit back, further breaks in the fifth and seventh games handed her the opening set. Sharapova’s serve, though, gifted Kvitova a route back into the game in the second set – with the momentum shifting in the Czech’s favour. Having levelled the match, Kvitova then broke Sharapova at the start of the deciding set and it looked like there would be only one winner. Sharapova used all her experience to hit straight back, though, and having come through a titanic seventh game she made her move to snatch the Kvitova serve and clinch the match.




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