Sharapova beats Azarenka to reach Roland Garros 2013 final

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The first of Thursday‘s two semi final matches started off in warm and wind free conditions. Reigning champion, 2nd seed Maria Sharapova faced off against 3rd seed Victoria Azarenka in their thirteenth meeting, although this was their first meeting at the French Open. Azarenka led the head to head stat 7-5, with 2-0 in slams – including her easy victory at the Australian Open this year. The number 2 spot on the WTA rankings was also up for grabs, because if Azarenka won, she would become the new number 2.

Sharapova made a nervy start to the encounter and let Azarenka break in the first game of the first set, but that was the last shout for the Belarusian, as the Russian swept through the set to take it 6-1 in just 28 minutes. Sharapova could not make a mistake with a magnificent array of power hitting, fine angles, overhead lobs and incredible defence.

Games went with serve in the second set until the 6th game when Azarenka got her first break. She then held and broke again for 5-2. With Sharapova serving to stay in the set, it started to drizzle and there was confusion as to whether they would play on or not. A few minutes later play resumed and Sharapova argued over a line call called in by umpire Mariana Alves (which was then shown by Hawkeye to be out), but the Russian responded with an ace. It was to no avail, as Azarenka broke again to take the set 6-2 in 39 minutes.

The first two games of the third set went with serve with both players getting louder with every point. Azarenka then broke and so did Sharapova, after a 10 minute game which included 4 double faults and 2 aces. Sharapova broke again with the match becoming more and more scrappy; and held for 4-2, then broke again. Serving for the match Sharapova served 2 more double to take her tally to 11 (and 10 aces) and, after an 11 minute game, Azarenka broke back and then held. Serving with new balls, Sharapova served out to love for the set at 6-4 and her place in the final.

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