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Sharapova, Jankovic reach semis in rainy B'ham

sharapova-bham.jpg Top-seeded Maria Sharapova (BTW, currently the highest-paid female athlete) had to win two matches on Saturday to reach the last four of the rain-hit DFS Classic. She beat Austria’s Tamira Paszek 6-3 4-6 6-2 in a much-delayed third-round match. Sharapova had an easier time against Elena Likhovtseva, seeing off her fellow Russian 6-2 6-3 to reach the semi-finals.

"Mentally, you have to be ready for a very long day. You have to be ready no matter how many stops there are,” Maria, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, commented on the rain which constantly interrupted the tournament.

Sharapova missed two months earlier this year due to a right shoulder injury and hopes her crowded schedule doesn't make it worse.

"It will be important to recover physically," she said. "The shoulder was a little bit heavy today, but I hope it will recover."

Sharapova’s opponent in the semis will be the winner of the remaining quarterfinal – either third seed Daniela Hantuchova or fifth seed Marion Bartoli.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, seeded second, also made it through to the semis by defeating Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko 6-4 6-3. World number three Jankovic made it six wins out of six in the last 12 months in her meetings with Bondarenko. In her quarterfinal match Jankovic appeared to show no ill effects from the stiff neck which troubled her on Friday.

In the semis, the opponent of the always smiling JJ will be Italian eight seed Mara Santangelo who defeated China’s Na Li 6-2 7-5 in the quarter-finals. (sources: BBC, ESPN)

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