Wozniacki, Sharapova reach last four


INDIAN WELLS – Top seed Caroline Wozniacki, whose opponent pulled out with a painful injury, eased into the Indian Wells semi-finals where she was joined by Maria Sharapova on Thursday. Wozniacki, of Denmark, was ahead 3-0 when Victoria Azarenka packed it in after taking a lengthy medical timeout to receive treatment for an injury to the left side of her hip. The eighth seed Azarenka suffered the setback just 10 minutes into the match on the second point of the third game while stretching to try and return a shot. World number one Wozniacki, who is good friends with Azarenka, said she was sorry to have to win that way.
Wozniacki moves on to play three-time grand slam champion Sharapova who defeated China’s Peng Shuai 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 in a two-hour, 22-minute marathon quarter-final. Sharapova won her quarter-final despite committing 13 double faults and winning just 27 percent of her second-serve points. Neither player could hold serve at the start of the deciding set but then Sharapova found a spark in the sixth game to hold serve for the first time in the set and level the score at 3-3. Sharapova also won the next three games to take the match. Sharapova, who called for her coach to come down to the court several times, broke Peng’s serve four times in the third set, including the final game of the match to earn her ninth match win of the season to go with three losses.
NADAL REACHES SEMIS: World number one Rafael Nadal battled back from losing the first set against 239th-ranked Ivo Karlovic to reach the semi-finals. The Spanish top seed clinched a 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (9/7) win on his third match point in the third set tiebreak when the Croatian smacked a forehand long to end the match lasting nearly two-and-a-half hours. Nadal, who will be playing in his sixth consecutive semi-final at the tournament, will play Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro next, who progressed without even taking to the court after Tommy Robredo withdrew with an injury. Nadal countered the hard-serving Karlovic, who reached a career-high ranking of 14, with some deft backhands, precision passing shots and good footwork on the main stadium court.
Karlovic survived two match points in the tiebreak but then hit a forehand long to give Nadal the win, sparking wild celebrations from the Spaniard, who sprinted across the court, punching the air in delight. Del Potro said he was glad to be in the semi-finals and looked forward to locking horns with Nadal again. Robredo’s surprise exit came after the Spaniard injured his left abductor muscle during his fourth-round match against Sam Querrey.