Sharapova rallies past Jankovic at French Open - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Sharapova rallies past Jankovic at French Open

Posted: Updated:

PARIS (AP) -- Maria Sharapova shrugged off losing the first six games and swept the last four to reach the French Open semifinals.

The defending champion overcame a miserable start in the quarterfinals Wednesday to beat Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

It was the first victory of Sharapova's career after losing an opening set 6-0. Her opponent Thursday will be two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who reached her first Roland Garros semifinal by beating Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (3), 6-2.

The No. 2-seeded Sharapova earned her first French Open title a year ago to complete a career Grand Slam. She has won 12 matches in a row at Roland Garros, where her 42-9 record is the best among active women.

"Obviously it only gets tougher from here," Sharapova said, "but I'm really happy I'm at this stage again."

She's 5-7 against No. 3 Azarenka.

"It's our first meeting here," Azarenka said, "so it's definitely going to be exciting and interesting."

No. 1 Serena Williams, seeking her first French Open title in 11 years, plays 2012 runner-up Sara Errani in the other semifinal.

The warmest weather of the tournament greeted the quarterfinalists, and Jankovic quickly had Sharapova sweating. In the first set the Russian repeatedly missed the lines by narrow margins or clipped the net cord, and the match was 35 minutes old before she won a game -- and only then because Jankovic double-faulted on break point.

Jankovic won 27 points in the first set, 20 on unforced errors by her opponent.

"I still felt like I was in the match," Sharapova said. "And I was."

She then began to find her range while hitting even harder than before, while Jankovic did her best to withstand the barrage. In contrast to Sharapova's metronomic shrieking, Jankovic went about her business in silence -- until she started muttering to herself as her lead disappeared.

"It was a big fight," Jankovic said. "It was great tennis out there. We battled."

Sharapova earned the first break of the final set to take her first lead at 4-3. Toward the end the rallies became longer, and she won the majority, often by hitting shots at improbable angles.

Twice Sharapova yanked lunging backhand returns cross-court for winners. She finished off another point with a forehand struck so violently her necklace flew into her face.

"It was certainly nice to change things around," Sharapova said, "because I wasn't doing much in the first six games."

When Jankovic's final shot sailed wide, Sharapova responded with a slack-jawed smile, as though she couldn't quite believe her comeback. She had dropped a first set 6-0 five other times in her career -- and went on to lose each match.

Most of her results this year have been less stressful. She's 35-4, with all but four of those matches decided in straight sets.

Azarenka is 27-2 and enjoying her best run in eight appearances at Roland Garros. She needed 76 minutes to take the grueling first set against Kirilenko, and the Belarusian improved her record this year in tiebreakers to 4-0. The second set went more quickly, with Azarenka losing only six points in four service games.

Azarenka advanced to the semifinals at her fourth consecutive major event.

AP-WF-06-05-13 1557GMT

  • Sports NewsSports NewsMore>>

  • U.S. Open preview

    U.S. Open preview

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:52:40 GMT
    Heading into the U.S. Open, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won 36 of the past 38 Grand Slam titles, a stretch dating to the 2005 French Open. Nowadays, there seems to be a growing sense — or hope, maybe — among the best of the rest on the men's tennis tour that the quartet might be more vulnerable than ever.
    Heading into the U.S. Open, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won 36 of the past 38 Grand Slam titles, a stretch dating to the 2005 French Open. Nowadays, there seems to be a growing sense — or hope, maybe — among the best of the rest on the men's tennis tour that the quartet might be more vulnerable than ever.
  • Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:26:39 GMT
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
  • Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:03:11 GMT
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices