Ana Ivanovic breezed through in straight sets and Maria Sharapova survived a scare from a fellow Russian as the two former champions reached the Indian Wells semi-finals Thursday.
Three time Grand Slam winner Sharapova, the second seed, battled back from an opening-set loss with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Maria Kirilenko in the women’s quarter-finals of the joint WTA and ATP event.
Sharapova will face Ivanovic, who easing past a stricken Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-4 in a rematch of their quarter-final contest from last year.
Sharapova had cruised through her first three matches at Indian Wells without dropping a set.
However, she quickly ran into trouble against Kirilenko – who had won eight of her previous nine three-set matches this year.
“I tried to keep my head up today even though I wasn’t playing my best,” said Sharapova, who won the Indian Wells title in 2006. “Towards the end I started to play better and move better.”
Sharapova needed three hours and five minutes to dispatch Kirilenko in the first meeting between the two since the opening round of the 2010 Australian Open.
Kirilenko is getting a reputation as the WTA Tour’s iron woman. This was her third straight three setter for Kirilenko and the second time in the tournament she played a match lasting more than three hours.
Kirilenko became the first player in the tournament to take a set off Sharapova, breaking the former world No. 1 twice in winning the opening frame in 43 minutes.