Sharapova wins at Sony Ericsson Championships

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sharapova rolled over Ivanovic 6-1, 6-2 at the Sony Ericsson Championships on Friday and avoided a matchup with defending champion Henin in the semis.

Updated: November 11, 2007 08:10 IST
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Madrid, Spain:

Maria Sharapova rolled over Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-2 at the Sony Ericsson Championships on Friday and avoided a matchup with defending champion Justine Henin in the semifinals.

Instead, Ivanovic will face Henin in Saturday's semifinals, and Sharapova will play fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

"I don't have to worry about who I play against - if I play like today I'll be fine," Sharapova said.

Earlier, Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, the mid-tournament replacement for an injured Serena Williams, beat third-ranked Jelena Jankovic when the Serb retired in the second set because of a virus.

Daniela Hantuchova defeated Number 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7), 6-0 to complete the group play.

Sharapova broke Ivanovic to open their clash and never relented, keeping her opponent on the run with an array of crosscourt winners for her third straight win at the WTA's season-ending championships.

She hadn't enjoyed three successive wins since mid-August because of a shoulder problem.

Sharapova won 29 of her 40 service points and the 20-year-old former Number 1 didn't face a break point.

First-time qualifier Ivanovic hit only eight winners to Sharapova's 22, including the forehand pass that clinched it.

"We're both really big competitors and we both wanted to win this match and I don't like losing to the same player twice in a row," said Sharapova, who fell to the Serb in the semifinals at Roland Garros.

"I really wanted to get my revenge whether this match counted or not," she added.

Sharapova, who won the title on debut in 2004, and Chakvetadze will meet for the fourth time this year. Sharapova leads 5-0 overall for the loss of only one set.

"My chances are pretty good," Sharapova said. "I'm very pleased I could (beat two top players) when a couple of weeks ago I didn't think I would be able to play here."

Ivanovic and Henin last met in the French Open final. Henin leads their matchup 2-0.

"I'm quite positive tomorrow's match will be a lot different from our last match and our circumstances will be different than last time," Ivanovic said.

"I just want to try to keep my concentration up," he added.

Bartoli led Jankovic 6-1, 1-0 when the Serb retired.

"I have a virus and I've been sick for a couple of days," said Jankovic, who finished 0-3 in her first appearance. "I have trouble breathing and I'm suffering on the court and I can't play my game."

The 10th-ranked Bartoli bounced back after becoming the first player in the tournament's 35-year history to lose 6-0, 6-0 the day before to Henin.

"It's really a strange week for me," Bartoli said. "Yesterday, I lost really badly and my wish for today was to play much better and have fun because it's the last match of the season, but I feel bad for Jelena."

Though Kuznetsova leads Hantuchova with six wins in 10 meetings, she fell to 1-3 against the Slovak indoors.

Hantuchova came back from a 3-0 deficit to push the first set to a tiebreaker.

She hit three straight forehand winners for her first set point, and eventually took it on her second try after Kuznetsova hit into the net.

Hantuchova, a two-time winner this year, became stronger through the second for her first win in this year's elite event, while Kuznetsova marred her third appearance by losing her fourth straight match.

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