LOS ANGELES // Maria Sharapova fought her way into the semi-finals of the LA Championships on Friday with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Polish teenager Urszula Radwanska. Sharapova will next face Flavia Pennetta after the Italian stunned second seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-4, 6-2. Romania's Sorana Cirstea upset Agnieszka Radwanska, Urszula's older sister, to set up the other semi-final clash against Australia's Samantha Stosur, who beat Zheng Jie of China.
A three-times grand slam champion, Sharapova endured some erratic groundstrokes and patchy service games but used her vast experience to get past the Pole. The Russian was clearly frustrated with her lack of service consistency. "I made a lot more errors than I wanted to," said Sharapova, who double faulted 13 times. "I created so many bad habits. Eventually it's going to work itself into place." Cirstea upset the elder Radwanska 7-6, 1-6, 7-5 and will now face Stosur, who reached her second consecutive semi-final with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over China's Zheng. Last week, Stosur upset Serena Williams at the Stanford Classic before falling to eventual winner Marion Bartoli.
Cirstea, 19, received treatment for a right foot injury during the second set but hoped to be ready for Stosur. "I think I'm learning a lot," she said. "If I keep going like this, I think I can improve a lot." * Reuters