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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 01:52 GMT
Sharapova into all-Russian final
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova has now won two of her three matches against Hingis
Third seed Maria Sharapova stormed into the final of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells with an impressive win over Martina Hingis on Friday.

The pair had each won one of their two meetings so far this year but Sharapova dominated this one from the start.

Hingis could not contain a pumped-up Sharapova, particularly on her own serve, and the Russian won 6-3 6-3.

In the final she faces compatriot Elena Dementieva after she stunned top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne 2-6 7-5 7-5.

Playing in windy conditions, Sharapova looked determined to impose herself on Hingis from the outset.

Hingis looked out of the match at 6-3 4-1 down and facing two break points, but Sharapova's resolve wavered and the Swiss battled back to trail 4-3 on serve.

All these chances I had and games I could have won
Martina Hingis

Sharapova then had treatment for blisters at the changeover and the break clearly helped as she broke to love before serving out the match.

"The score doesn't show how physically and mentally challenging every point was," said the Russian, who hit 29 winners to only eight from Hingis.

"The quality of the match was very high level. Mentally, I told myself: 'It doesn't matter how many balls she gets, do everything possible to get one more ball back'."

Hingis said: "At 4-1, I started to play better. All these chances I had and games I could have won, she won anyway. You've got to have the stamina."

Henin-Hardenne came into her semi-final with a 7-1 winning record over Dementieva and looked to be cruising towards victory when she took a 6-2 5-2 lead.

Really, I didn't expect to win this one
Elena Dementieva

But Dementieva suddenly found her game, running down ball after ball and making few errors.

After losing the second set, Henin-Hardenne had her right knee taped, but having saved a match point at 4-5, she committed to backhand errors at 5-6 to lose the two-hour 51-minute contest.

"I was dominating and then I lost my concentration," said Henin-Hardenne.

"I helped her come back into the match. Maybe I thought the match was over too soon and she turned the match completely around. She's a great fighter."

Dementieva added: "Really, I didn't expect to win this one.

"I was having some fun, some lucky shots. I was smiling. My mom, you know, she was angry with me. She said: 'Are you playing semifinals or are you having some fun here?'"


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