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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Sharapova shocks off-key Mauresmo
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova had lost her last five Grand Slam semi-finals
Maria Sharapova reached her second Grand Slam final with a three-set win over top seed Amelie Mauresmo in the US Open semi-finals on Friday.

The Russian, seeded third, beat an out-of-form Mauresmo 6-0 4-6 6-0 in one hour 35 minutes.

Sharapova swept through the first set in just 24 minutes and, after losing a tight second, was back at her best as she dominated the decider.

She will meet second seed Justine Henin-Hardenne in Saturday's final.

The 2004 Wimbledon champion went into the match having lost all three of her previous matches against Mauresmo, as well as five successive Grand Slam semi-finals.

However, suggestions before the match that she was not capable of getting past the semi-final stage in majors did not hold the 19-year-old back.

The difference today was that she made fewer unforced errors, I made the errors

Amelie Mauresmo

She raced through the first set, breaking immediately as Mauresmo struggled for rhythm from the baseline and going on to take a love set.

The world number one improved in the second set, but it was still something of a surprise when she broke to level the match by converting her third set point.

Now it was a test of mental strength for Sharapova, who had lost in three to Mauresmo in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

This time she took the initiative, breaking in the first game thanks in large part to a Mauresmo double fault and a faltering forehand.

Sharapova stormed through the rest of the set in even more impressive form than she had shown in the opener, and wrapped up the victory with a trademark backhand winner.

"It was tough to get broken in that last game of the second set," said Sharapova, who will move up to number one in the world if she beats Henin-Hardenne.

"She just played some good tennis but I hung in there. I went to the changeover and thought, 'It's all right. It's one set all. You haven't lost the match yet. Now it's equal.'

"So I just kept going."

Mauresmo said: "I was maybe a little tired but there was nothing specific. I think the difference today was that she made fewer unforced errors, I made the errors.

"I didn't feel very good throughout the match, maybe not thinking so good, not lucid.

"All credit to her, she played a good match. I didn't play the way I wanted today.

"Even when I won the second set, I didn't really feel like things were going the way I wanted them to."

Gamewatch: Mauresmo v Sharapova
08 Sep 06 |  Tennis
Women's US Open singles draw
23 Aug 06 |  Tennis

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