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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 06:47 GMT
Ivanovic sets up Sharapova final
Ana Ivanovic celebrates winning a point against Daniela Hantuchova
Ivanovic took time to find her game in Melbourne
Ana Ivanovic will face Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final after a dramatic three-set win against ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova.

Hantuchova started much the stronger and raced through the first set 6-0.

It took Ivanovic, from Serbia, 45 minutes to win her first game but she settled and took the second set 6-3.

The third set went with serve until 4-4 when three errors from the Slovak helped fourth seed Ivanovic to break, and the Serb closed things out 6-4.

Earlier Maria Sharapova surged into the final with an emphatic 6-3 6-1 victory over Jelena Jankovic.

The Russian outclassed her Serbian opponent, who was hampered by a back injury, and will now aim to win her third Grand Slam title.

I tried to stay calm as much as I could but obviously it wasn't easy

Ana Ivanovic

Melbourne has a large number of residents with Serbian heritage and they turned out in force to cheer on Jankovic and Ivanovic.

When Ivanovic started desperately poorly in the second semi-final it looked as though they were going to suffer double disappointment, and the 20-year-old was keen to pay tribute to the fans after her fightback.

"If it wasn't for you guys I would be booking my flight home," she told the crowd.

"Daniela's a tough player and I knew I had to go for my shots early in the rally and it was frustrating because I couldn't make any, she was playing really well.

"I tried to stay calm as much as I could but obviously it wasn't easy."

Ivanovic made a very tentative start, winning just nine points in the first set and losing the first eight games to Hantuchova.

However, she finally settled in the third game of the second set and after holding her serve she promptly broke back to level at 2-2.

Ivanovic was beginning to gain the upper hand and Hantuchova double faulted on break point at 4-3 to give the Serb the crucial break.

The third set went with serve until 4-4 when Hantuchova's composure deserted her.

A missed forehand drive volley and a double fault helped Ivanovic reach break point and Hantuchova then dumped a forehand volley into the net, with the court wide open, to hand the Serb a decisive advantage.

Ivanovic was now serving for the match and she duly closed it out after two hours and 10 minutes to reach her second Grand Slam final.



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