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Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Sunday, 1 August 2010 10:42 UK

Maria Sharapova books place in Stanford final

Maria Sharapova beats Agnieszka Radwanska
Sharapova has won two of her three matches against Azarenka

Maria Sharapova will play Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Stanford Classic following a 1-6 6-2 6-2 last-four win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

Fifth seed Sharapova struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the first set as Polish third seed Radwanska dominated.

But Russian Sharapova hit back in the second and smashed down four successive aces to claim the match in the third.

Azarenka of Belarus celebrated her 21st birthday with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Sam Stosur in the other semi-final.

World number 18 Azarenka continued her return to form, breaking Stosur three times in the first set and holding the edge throughout the second.

"I'm happy with the way I played. I'm finally injury-free and I'm enjoying my time on the court," said Azarenka, who has yet to win a WTA Tour title this season.

"[Stosur] has had such good results. I'm so happy at how I played against her.

"I started to move a little better as the match went on and I improved my defensive game and that helped my offensive game move forward."


Sharapova has the advantage going into the final having won two of her three previous encounters against Azarenka.

"This week has been great for me, going against different types of games, finding myself in different situations and coming out with wins," said world number 15 Sharapova.

"But there's another one tomorrow and I have finish it out."

And should the 23-year-old Russian, who has beaten Zheng Jie and Elena Dementieva en route to the final, beat Azarenka on Sunday, she will achieve her best ranking since returning from a shoulder injury in May 2009.

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see also
Borwell retires from semi-final
01 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Sharapova reaches Stanford semi
31 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Champion Bartoli defeats Ivanovic
30 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Dementieva returns with victory
29 Jul 10 |  Tennis

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