Sharapova rallies past Jankovic at French Open - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Sharapova rallies past Jankovic at French Open

Posted: Updated:

PARIS (AP) -- Maria Sharapova shrugged off losing the first six games and swept the last four to reach the French Open semifinals.

The defending champion overcame a miserable start in the quarterfinals Wednesday to beat Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

It was the first victory of Sharapova's career after losing an opening set 6-0. Her opponent Thursday will be two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who reached her first Roland Garros semifinal by beating Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (3), 6-2.

The No. 2-seeded Sharapova earned her first French Open title a year ago to complete a career Grand Slam. She has won 12 matches in a row at Roland Garros, where her 42-9 record is the best among active women.

"Obviously it only gets tougher from here," Sharapova said, "but I'm really happy I'm at this stage again."

She's 5-7 against No. 3 Azarenka.

"It's our first meeting here," Azarenka said, "so it's definitely going to be exciting and interesting."

No. 1 Serena Williams, seeking her first French Open title in 11 years, plays 2012 runner-up Sara Errani in the other semifinal.

The warmest weather of the tournament greeted the quarterfinalists, and Jankovic quickly had Sharapova sweating. In the first set the Russian repeatedly missed the lines by narrow margins or clipped the net cord, and the match was 35 minutes old before she won a game -- and only then because Jankovic double-faulted on break point.

Jankovic won 27 points in the first set, 20 on unforced errors by her opponent.

"I still felt like I was in the match," Sharapova said. "And I was."

She then began to find her range while hitting even harder than before, while Jankovic did her best to withstand the barrage. In contrast to Sharapova's metronomic shrieking, Jankovic went about her business in silence -- until she started muttering to herself as her lead disappeared.

"It was a big fight," Jankovic said. "It was great tennis out there. We battled."

Sharapova earned the first break of the final set to take her first lead at 4-3. Toward the end the rallies became longer, and she won the majority, often by hitting shots at improbable angles.

Twice Sharapova yanked lunging backhand returns cross-court for winners. She finished off another point with a forehand struck so violently her necklace flew into her face.

"It was certainly nice to change things around," Sharapova said, "because I wasn't doing much in the first six games."

When Jankovic's final shot sailed wide, Sharapova responded with a slack-jawed smile, as though she couldn't quite believe her comeback. She had dropped a first set 6-0 five other times in her career -- and went on to lose each match.

Most of her results this year have been less stressful. She's 35-4, with all but four of those matches decided in straight sets.

Azarenka is 27-2 and enjoying her best run in eight appearances at Roland Garros. She needed 76 minutes to take the grueling first set against Kirilenko, and the Belarusian improved her record this year in tiebreakers to 4-0. The second set went more quickly, with Azarenka losing only six points in four service games.

Azarenka advanced to the semifinals at her fourth consecutive major event.

AP-WF-06-05-13 1557GMT

  • Sports NewsSports NewsMore>>

  • 2 runners die near finish line of half-marathon

    2 runners die near finish line of half-marathon

    Monday, April 14 2014 11:19 AM EDT2014-04-14 15:19:32 GMT
    Authorities say two runners died near the finish line of a half marathon in Raleigh.Race organizers said the mens' deaths in the 13.1-mile race Sunday morning appear to be from natural causes. More than 12,000 runners took part in either the half marathon or the full marathon.
    Authorities say two runners died near the finish line of a half marathon in Raleigh.Race organizers said the mens' deaths in the 13.1-mile race Sunday morning appear to be from natural causes. More than 12,000 runners took part in either the half marathon or the full marathon.
  • Special Olympics: Athlete Sara Chamberlain

    Special Olympics: Athlete Sara Chamberlain

    Friday, April 11 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-04-12 01:50:28 GMT
    The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games are coming to New Jersey in June. Nearly 3,500 athletes are expected to compete.As a young girl, Sara Chamberlain found it hard to talk to others because of her shyness.
    The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games are coming to New Jersey in June. Nearly 3,500 athletes are expected to compete.As a young girl, Sara Chamberlain found it hard to talk to others because of her shyness.
  • Just one season of hits in high school football may alter brain

    Just one season of hits in high school football may alter brain

    Even among high school football players who've never had a concussion, a small preliminary study suggests that changes can still occur to their brains within the course of a single season.
    Even among high school football players who've never had a concussion, a small preliminary study suggests that changes can still occur to their brains within the course of a single season.
Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices