Maria Sharapova put an end to an amazing winning streak of qualifier Alison Riske to reach the AEGON Classic final for the fourth time in seven visits to Birmingham. The Russian’s opponent in the title match will be Li Na, who defeated her in the last year’s semifinals.
Riske had never won a WTA main-draw match before this week, but even after victories over Sandra Zahlavova in the first round, former world No.5 Chakvetadze, ninth seed Aleksandra Wozniak and third seed Yanina Wickmayer, the 19-year-old had fuel in her tank and took one set from Sharapova who came through with the 6-2 4-6 6-1 score.
Top seed Li Na of China also played a three-setter to beat Aravane Rezai 6-1 3-6 6-3 in the second semifinal and reach the trophy round. The Chinese No.1, who was upset by Magdalena Rybarikova in the 2009 final, is 1-5 in career meetings with Sharapova. (photo by Richard)