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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Scrappy Sharapova Battles Into Semis

APSharapova serving to her opponent, Chakvetadze, in the quarterfinal match at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Top seed Maria Sharapova reached her third successive Australian Open semifinal with a hard-fought 7-6, 7-5 victory over fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze on Wednesday.

Sharapova is now the last Russian left standing at the Open, after Nikolai Davydenko was edged out in the men's draw 6-3, 2-6, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 by German Tommy Haas.

Struggling to find her rhythm, Sharapova, 19, was broken twice in each set and her court speed was often exposed by the 12th seed before she prevailed in two hours and 14 minutes of scrappy action at Rod Laver Arena.

"I thought I was up and down, a bit scratchy," Sharapova said after dispatching her third compatriot of the tournament.

The warning signs were there early for Sharapova when she fell 0-40 behind in her first service game, but she hit her way out of trouble before Chakvetadze made the first break to lead 4-2.

Three successive breaks followed as both players tried to impose themselves, Chakvetadze looking painfully nervous on some easy put-aways while Sharapova's unforced error count steadily went the wrong way.

The duo got their service games together to reach the tiebreaker, which U.S. Open champion Sharapova clinched 7-5.

Chakvetadze called for a medical timeout after that setback for treatment on her shoulder and Sharapova pounced to take a 2-0 lead in the second.

As Sharapova's screams and grunts rose in intensity, Chakvetadze quietly went about her business with growing confidence.

Both players' fathers grew more animated as the match got tighter, with Sharapova's coach and mentor Yury incurring his daughter a code violation for coaching at one point.

Chakvetadze broke the Sharapova serve again and held for 2-2 but the top seed clung on in a tough fifth game before requesting a medical timeout of her own to tape up a sore foot.

They shared breaks again, Sharapova missing her first match point at 4-5, before her experience shone through on a third match point when Chakvetadze's forehand finding the net.

"Maria won today, she played better than me," Chakvetadze said. "My shoulder was tight in the morning. I should have called the trainer earlier."

Sharapova will play Kim Clijsters in the semifinal after the Belgian beat three-time former champion Martina Hingis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an error-strewn match.

In the other semifinal the unseeded Serena Williams takes on tenth-seeded Czech Nicole Vaidisova.

Germany's Tommy Haas gained sweet revenge by edging out third-seeded Davydenko in five sets.

Haas, the 12th seed, was knocked out by the obdurate Russian in the last eight of the 2006 U.S. Open, but he recovered from 3-1 down in the fifth set and saved one match point before prevailing in an epic duel at Rod Laver Arena.


Steve Holland / AP
Davydenko playing a backhand during his quarterfinal against Tommy Haas.
Having saved match point at 4-5 in the fifth, Haas, 28, broke and then had his first match point thwarted by an overrule from the Hawk-eye video replay system before sealing victory in three hours and 19 minutes when Davydenko's forehand drifted wide.

"Memories from the U.S. Open came back when I lost 6-4 in the fifth, it was hard to swallow. I don't know how I did it, I'm so happy."

In a match of dashing baseline hitting, single breaks were enough for the two to share the opening sets.

Davydenko, who fell at the last-eight stage for a third consecutive year, took the initiative by romping to the third in 33 minutes, but Haas took just one minute more to win the fourth 6-1 and take the game to a tense decider.

The Russian surged to a 3-1 lead when Haas netted a simple forehand but the German, a former world No. 2 before fractures to both ankles sent him plummeting down the rankings, hit back.

He broke back immediately and the pair held until a nerve-racking ninth game when Haas served two double faults to hand Davydenko his match point.

But the Russian netted a backhand to miss his chance and Haas held only to then break Davydenko for a 6-5 lead courtesy of a crunching forehand winner.

Haas appeared to have won the match when a Davydenko forehand was called long but the Hawk-eye replay showed that it had clipped the line by the narrowest margin. The German, though, made no mistake on the next point.

"After 5-4 he played well from the baseline, I did not put him under enough pressure in the fifth set," a forlorn Davydenko told reporters.

Haas will play the tenth seed, Fernando Gonzalez, who destroyed the second seed, Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

In the other semifinal, defending champion Roger Federer plays sixth seeded, Andy Roddick.