Maria Sharapova advanced to the US Open semi-finals for the first time since winning the title in 2006, rallying to defeat French 11th seed Marion Bartoli 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.
Sharapova, who improved to 12-0 in three-set matches this year, face World No 1 Victoria Azarenka, a 23-year-old from Belarus who beat Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 in last January’s Australian Open final.
“Tough challenge,” Sharapova said. “She beat me in Australia quite easily and I would love to get my revenge at a Grand Slam.”
Azarenka, who ousted defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia on Tuesday, leads the all-time rivalry with Sharapova 5-4, including a victory in March’s Indian Wells final and a loss in April’s Stuttgart final on clay. “It’s always tough to lose in that final stage of a Grand Slam,” Sharapova said. “Last time we played was in Stuttgart where I beat her, but before that she got me a couple times. But that was on clay. This is a different situation. She has been playing great tennis. This is a great opportunity for the both of us,” she added.