Sharapova advances to Wimbledon semifinals

Defending champion Maria Sharapova entered Wimbledon semifinals by beating fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 7-6 (6), 6-3 Tuesday. In the final game Sharapova clipped the net on consecutive points - and won both.

The first allowed her to save the only break point she faced. When Petrova sent a forehand long on the first match point, the second-seeded Sharapova let loose a shriek, then happily stretched her arms skyward as if doing calisthenics.

Also advancing was Amelie Mauresmo, who reached the semifinals for the third time in four years by beating Anastasia Myskina of Russia 6-3, 6-4. Myskina looked tired, admits CNN.

The biggest upset of the tournament continued to be the mostly dry weather, and the quarterfinals began with more sunshine and windy conditions, reports AP.

Sharapova, who lost just 17 games in the first four rounds, survived two close sets in a baseline battle with the eighth-seeded Petrova. There were only three break points, and just one converted - by Sharapova for a 2-0 lead in the second set.

In the tiebreaker, Sharapova leaped into a forehand and struck a winner to lead 7-6. Another forehand winner on the next point gave her the set.

Sharapova who had beaten Petrova in their only other previous clash, in Los Angeles in 2003, said,that finishing off the match gave her “shivers down her body." Sharapova admitted that Petrova “has a big serve and a big game and she's always dangerous,” reports CNN.

Sharapova extended her grass-court winning streak to 22 matches. Sharapova, the 18-year-old second seed, will now play twice champion Venus Williams of the United States or France's Mary Pierce for a place in the final.

The third-seeded Mauresmo showed the Centre Court crowd how effective her game can be on grass. She played serve-and-volley, chipped and charged on returns and smartly mixed the pace of her shots. Like Sharapova, Mauresmo has yet to lose a set in five rounds. Mauresmo hit 13 volley winners and won 30 of 43 points at the net.

Shaky nerves have plagued Mauresmo in the past, but she calmly served out the victory at love. When the ninth-seeded Myskina sailed a backhand long on match point, Mauresmo leaped with glee and punched the air.

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