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Sharapova enters Zurich final

October 21, 2006 19:58 IST

Maria Sharapova reached her sixth final of the year when she defeated unseeded Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 7-6, 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Zurich Open on Saturday.

The second-seeded Russian will face either third-seeded compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova or unseeded Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova in Sunday's final.

Sharapova, who will try to add to her US Open, Indian Wells and San Diego triumphs, had not performed at her best throughout the week. Once again she played an erratic match against an opponent who served well and played competently from the baseline but lacked any weapon to cause Sharapova real problems.

The Russian dropped only two points on serve until, at 4-4, Srebotnik donated four errors that allowed Sharapova to break at love. Instead of accepting her opportunity, Sharapova responded in kind and allowed Srebotnik to level at 5-5.

Srebotnik held a set point at 6-5 which Sharapova saved with her fifth ace and the Russian went on to take the tiebreak 7-3.

A crosscourt winner gave Sharapova a break to lead 2-0 in the second set but Srebotnik broke back in the fifth game and Sharapova received a warning for coaching.

Raising her aggression level, Sharapova broke again for 4-2 by forcing a backhand error and again for the match when she forced Srebotnik to net a backhand volley at close range.


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