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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Nadal, Djokovic set up semi-final showdown

PHOTOS: Nadal, Djokovic set up semi-final showdown

Last updated on: June 5, 2013 23:05 IST

Sharapova survives first-set meltdown

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A hail of unforced errors could not melt away Maria Sharapova's French Open dreams as the Russian kept alive hopes of retaining the title with a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jelena Jankovic in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Sharapova had entered the contest with a 7-1 win-loss record over her old sparring partner from the Bollettieri Academy but no one would have guessed following her first-set meltdown when 20 unforced errors flew off her racket.



Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia blows a kiss to the crowd as she celebrates match point in her quarter final against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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A tactical mistake cost Jankovic the match

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A slight tactical mistake from Jankovic in the opening game of the second set, when she opted to hit the ball at Sharapova rather than go for an outright winner, threw the Serbian off balance and she went on to drop her serve and the set.

That left the 18th-seeded Jankovic to resort to her usual habit of muttering away to herself as second seed Sharapova kept her eye on the ball to break in the seventh game of the third.

A forehand into the tramlines from Jankovic handed Sharapova a place in the semi-finals for the third year running and a date with third-seeded Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.



Image: Jelena Jankovic of Serbia plays a backhand during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Azarenka finally through to last four

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Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ended Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko's stern resistance 7-6(3), 6-2 to claim her maiden French Open semi-final spot on Wednesday.

Former world number one Azarenka, who has now reached the last four in all the grand-slam events, will meet defending champion Maria Sharapova, the second seed, for a place in Saturday's final.

Azarenka took the opening set after 76 minutes, with Kirilenko taking a medical time out to apparently have her lower back treated.

The double Australian Open champion broke early in the second set and held firm, wrapping up the win on her opponent's serve after nearly two hours.


Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates match point
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Nadal annihilates Wawrinka

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Rafa Nadal's transformation into claycourt machine was complete on Wednesday as the seven-times champion bulldozed into the French Open semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 crushing of Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka.

After he huffed and puffed through the opening week of the claycourt grand slam, the Spanish third seed was at his awe-inspiring best to set up a meeting with world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

Nadal, who has lost only one match at Roland Garros, marched through the opening set conceding zero break points against a tiring Wawrinka.



Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates match point after his match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Djokovic ends golden oldie Haas' adventure

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Novak Djokovic kept calm, cool and collected to subdue the challenge of 35-year-old Tommy Haas with a 6-3, 7-6(5), 7-5 win in the quarter-finals of the French Open on Wednesday.

If the world number one still had nightmares about his mauling by Haas just over two months ago in Miami, he hid those fears well to set up a semi-final blockbuster with seven-times champion Rafa Nadal.

After Djokovic outplayed the German warrior in the first set, Haas went toe-to-toe with the Serbian in the second. Three times the 12th seed went ahead with a mini-break in the tiebreak but each time Djokovic fought back.

When Djokovic brought up set point by finishing off a 24-shot rally with a breathtaking crosscourt backhand winner, the damage was done and there was no way back into the set for Haas who was looking to become the oldest men's semi-finalist in Paris since 1968.

Haas enjoyed one final hurrah in the third set, breaking the top seed when he was serving for the match at 5-4 but it was soon evident he was running on empty as he lost the next two games and the match when Djokovic whacked a backhand winner into the corner of the court. 


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his winagainst Tommy Haas of Germany
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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