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Friday, April 01, 2005

Maria beats V. Williams to reach Miami final

Maria Sharapova straight- setted former world No. 1 Venus Williams on Thursday to reach the final at the $3.06 million NASDAQ-100 Open. The second-seeded Maria Sharapova handled the eighth-seeded Williams 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour, 17 minutes amid sun-drenched conditions at Crandon Park. Maria will meet top-seeded Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo or unseeded Belgian Kim Clijsters in Saturday's lucrative final here, with the winner taking home $400,000.

Maria Sharapova

Maria and Venus were locked in a tight duel in the opening set before the Russian broke the American's serve to claim the stanza at 6-4. A determined Maria Sharapova wound up winning five straight games on her way to a comfortable 3-0 lead in the second set. Venus had six break-point chances in the final game of the match, but Maria saved them all and closed out the American on her third match point when one final Venus backhand sailed long.
"At this point I don't care who I play," said Maria Sharapova, minutes after beating Williams. "I'm in the final and I feel fantastic. "I was serving a little bit better in the first set and then she made a few errors in that game. From that point on I gained a lot of confidence. I think we both of fought to the end. So many points were so big. I'm a big competitor and I love to fight. Everyone is hungry and everyone wants to beat me so I know that I have to be that way if I want to win."

Maria Sharapova will appear in her third final in five events this season, as she's already claimed titles in Tokyo and Doha. Мария (Маша) Шарапова


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