MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Maria Sharapova has made the Australian Open final for the first time since she won it in 2008 by defeating Petra Kvitova 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
â€œIt means so much to be back in a Grand Slam final, â€œ Sad Sharapova, a stage I have been to before few years ago here.Â It’s nice to get that far again after losing quite early in the last couple of years.
â€œSo, yeah, it means a lot to me.Â I played someone that’s just had really great results and has beaten me the last couple of times.Â I just really wanted it today.
â€œYeah, I fought to the last point.Â You know, she had so many opportunities in that third set, and I just hung on and just really went for it.
â€œEvery year is different.Â Just in terms of obviously you grow a little bit older, you know, a lot of things in your life happen.
â€œBut at the end of the day, to get back at that stage is special.â€
With a victory on Saturday night, Sharapova can rise to the No. 1 ranking again next week. Sharapova will be playing Victoria Azarenka for the title on Saturday night. Azarenka knocked out defending champion Kim Clijsters in three sets.
On playing Azarenka for the womenâ€™s title, â€œI haven’t had great success against her in the last couple of events that we’ve played against each other.
â€œI’d really like to change that.Â Yeah, it will be important to tactically play right.Â You know, she makes you hit a lot of balls and she’s aggressive, as well.
But, yeah, it’s the final, so…â€