German Andrea Petkovic came to the semifinal against struggling Maria Sharapova with the confidence of upsets over world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and sixth seed Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals, but in the second and third sets the Russian showed the form that brought her so many titles and number one ranking to win the match 3-6 6-0 6-2.
Petkovic was dominant in the first set and it looked as if we were in for another Petko Dance. However, the match turned into a one-sided affair, to Sharapova’s advantage. The Russian won 11 straight games, building a 5-0 lead in the third set, and Petkovic’s inspiring performance at the Sony Ericsson Open had a rather flat end. And this amazing result for Sharapova came despite her grueling 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(5) win in the previous round against Alexandra Dulgheru, and an ankle injury she suffered then.
All in all, Sharapova forced a perfect revenge for her shockingly easy 6-2 6-3 loss to Petkovic at the 2011 Australian Open.
World No.23 Petkovic will crack the Top 20 when the new rankings are released on Monday, while the 13-ranked Sharapova is ensured a spot in the Top 10 again.
Even though Sharapova played the Sony Ericsson Open final in 2005 and 2006, she will try to win her first title at the tournament, either against Vera Zvonareva or 2009 champion Victoria Azarenka.