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Sharapova beats Bartoli to reach US Open semis

NOTTINGHAM, Sept 6 ― Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Marion Bartoli of France during their women's singles quarterfinals match at the US Open tennis tournament in New York September 5, 2012. ― Reuters picNOTTINGHAM, Sept 6 ― Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Marion Bartoli of France during their women's singles quarterfinals match at the US Open tennis tournament in New York September 5, 2012. ― Reuters picNEW YORK, Sept 6 ― Maria Sharapova clawed her way out of trouble to beat Marion Bartoli 3-6 6-3 6-4 yesterday and reach the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time in six years.

The Russian fought back after losing the rain-interrupted first set and opening service game in the second set to win a two and half hour match that began Tuesday afternoon and took 24 hours to complete.

"I tried not to think about it too much," said Sharapova. "It was good to have that period of time just to get a good night's sleep and come back."

Frenchwoman Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist five years ago seeded 11 in New York, threatened to pull off the upset when she led 4-0 overnight and wrapped up the first set.

Sharapova, who won the US Open in 2006 and completed her grand slam collection by winning the French Open in June, was initially struggling with her own serve in blustery conditions at Flushing Meadows.

The world number three dropped serve at the start of the second set when she made three double faults but regained her composure and recovered to force a deciding third set.

The pair traded breaks early in third set before Sharapova, who hit an impressive 44 winners in the match, got the decisive break in the ninth game then served out victory.

Sharapova has not been beaten this year in any match that has gone three sets.

"It's not always a good feeling to come into a match to knowing that you're down 0-4," she said. "It's like you're going to try to win that set, but if you don't you're down 0-1.

"It's so long since I've been back to this stage at the US Open. A little bit of luck always helps."

She will now play world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in Friday's semi-finals.

"She beat me in Australia quite easily and I would love to get my revenge at a grand slam," Sharapova said. ― Reuters

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