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Sharapova rallies past Jankovic; Djokovic, Nadal reach French Open semifinals
Tennis » Defending champ loses 1st six games before finding rhythm.


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She’s 5-7 against No. 3 Azarenka.

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"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 Thursday. The other men’s semifinal Friday will match Spaniard David Ferrer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who seeks to become the first Frenchman in 30 years to win Roland Garros.

The warmest weather of the tournament greeted the last of 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.


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"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.

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