Second seed Maria Sharapova won two matches on Thursday, one of which lasted for three days, and she continued with winning on Friday to reach the semifinals of the AEGON Classic, the tournament she has won two times.
Sharapova first beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round, in a match greatly affected by rain, then she defeated fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3 6-1 (their first encounter after Kudryavtseva upset Sharapova in the second round of Wimbledon and later on stated how she got the extra motivation from hating Sharapova’s outfit), and today she has eliminated Sesil Karatantcheva, who had upset tenth seed and defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova in the previous round.
In her seventh successive semifinal at the tournament, Sharapova will face 185th-ranked qualifier Alison Riske of the United States. The 19-year-old Riske is an interesting opponent because she came to Birmingham without even one main draw victory on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, but at the 2010 AEGON Classic she first upset 9th seed Aleksandra Wozniack, then Anna Chakvetadze, and then third seed Yanina Wickmayer in the quarterfinals. (photos by Richard and © Neal Trousdale)