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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Maria Sharapova advance to Acura Classic final

Maria Sharapova used her strong serve to defeat Patty Schnyder 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday to advance to the finals of the Acura Classic. Sharapova's dominance on her serve was also the key to her winning the second game of the second set, which lasted 24 points and took more than 15 minutes to complete.

Maria Sharapova

"I think I served smart," said Maria, ranked No. 4. "That was probably the greatest thing about my serving. I was consistently smart. I mixed up it up good and mixed up the pace good." Maria Sharapova will meet either top-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium or No. 7 seed Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who played Saturday night in the other semifinal. Clijsters, ranked No. 2, will attempt to extend her 23-match winning streak in North American summer hardcourt tournaments. Sharapova has yet to beat Clijsters in four career matches, and has never played the 17-year-old Vaidisova. Maria Sharapova reached her fourth final this season, but has won just once at Indian Wells in March.

That's when Sharapova converted the only break point of the first set. Sharapova hit a forehand winner off a short ball to take a 6-5 lead. She then served out the set. "I didn't do too good at the beginning. She won her serve too easy," said the eighth-ranked Schnyder. "She has a huge serve. Each and every point she's like 100 per cent concentrated and focused. She really never gives you a breath. Just a really complete player."

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