[QODLink]
Tennis

Sharapova reaches Qatar last four

Maria Sharapova brushes aside Sam Stosur to secure place in semifinals where she could face American Serena Williams.
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2013 18:54
Sharapova can become world number one if both Azarenka and Williams stumble in tournament [AP]

Maria Sharapova advanced to the semifinals of the Qatar Open by beating former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 on Friday.

The third-ranked Russian, looking for her third title in Qatar, broke Stosur twice to lead 4-1 and then hit a backhand down the line to make it 5-1. She closed it out when the ninth-ranked Australian hit her return long.

Sharapova jumped out to 3-0 in the second set but Stosur staged a brief comeback. She had a chance to level at 4-4 but Sharapova hit five aces to win the game and won the match on a drop cord off her backhand.

"I was happy because Sam certainly stepped up her level in the second set, and despite, you know, losing a couple of more points than I would have liked to and losing my concentration, I really started playing well when I had to and being aggressive at the right times," she said.

"After not serving well for about a set and the beginning of the second, on the important points, when I had to, I came up with really great first serves"

Maria Sharapova

"After not serving well for about a set and the beginning of the second, on the important points, when I had to, I came up with really great first serves. That helped me win."

In the earlier quarterfinal, Victoria Azarenka also made it through to the semifinals defeating Italian Sara Errani 6-2, 6-2. 

Sharapova, who plays Serena Williams, has an outside chance of returning to No. 1 for the sixth time. But she has to hope Williams and top-ranked Azarenka falter.

If Williams reaches the semis, the 31-year-old American will be the oldest woman to reach No. 1. Chris Evert held the top ranking in 1985 just shy of her 31st birthday.

If Williams loses to Kvitova, Azarenka would retain the top spot by reaching the final. Sharapova would return to No. 1 if the other two falter and she wins the tournament. But the prospect of going No. 1 doesn't have the Russian in high anticipation.

"Is it great to have the opportunity to come back to that position? I mean, we'd be lying if we weren't. We're excited about having the chance," she said.

"The ranking is always one of those things where it also depends on the other players' success and the amount of points and the tournaments that they play. That's out of my control, so that's the reason why, to me, maybe it's not as important as winning the match point of a Grand Slam.

Whereas, you wake up on a Monday morning and the ranking system changed and you're No. 1 in the world.''

452

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
The Church of Christ built a $200m megachurch while analysts say members vote in a block.
US state is first to issue comprehensive draft regulations for the online currency, but critics say they are onerous.
Survivors of Shujayea bombardment recount horror tales amid frantic search for lost family members.
join our mailing list