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Sharapova, Jankovic set up semi-final showdown in Miami

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World No. 2 Maria Sharapova managed to edge out seventh seed Sara Errani in two tightly contested sets 7-5, 7-5 to move closer to her first title in Miami, after being runner up the last two years in a row. For a place in the final, she faces former World no. 1 Jelena Jankovic. The 22nd seed overcame 15th seed Roberta Vinci in two and half hours 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 fighting back from a break down in the deciding set.

Sharapova and Errani squared off in a rematch of their Indian Wells quarterfinal which the 3rd seed won in straight sets. Their two and a half hour grueling encounter saw 10 breaks of serve and 18 double faults. 14 of those came from the Russian’s racquet. Still, she was able to save three set points at 4-5 down in the opening set to rattle off the next three games to go 1-0 up in the match.

The second set followed more of the same trajectory and with Sharapova getting three breaks to the Italian’s two, she was able to claw out the set with a similar score line.

“I feel very lucky that I'm through,” said Sharapova. “She had her chances to win that second set.  Who knows what would have happened. I'm lucky to get to the next one and have a chance to be in the semis again… The great thing is that I pulled through. I worked hard. I was steady, and I gave myself a chance to get here.”

The Indian Wells champion, who is bidding to become just the third woman after the legendary Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters to claim the Indian Wells and Miami double, will face another tough competitor in 22nd seed Jelena Jankovic.

The Serb had a similarly lengthy encounter against her Italian opponent in 15th seed Roberta Vinci that lasted a minute longer at 2 hours and 30 minutes as she improved to 4-2 in 6 career meetings against the Italian.

The dramatic encounter saw Jankovic overcome a 0-2 deficit in all three sets. It was a topsy turvy encounter which saw plenty of breaks of serve, but Jankovic's experience and grit helped her hang on for an excellent win.

WTA Singles - Quarterfinals

[3] M Sharapova (RUS) d [8] S Errani (ITA) 75 75

[22] J Jankovic (SRB) d [15] R Vinci (ITA) 64 67(6) 63