Tennis: Maria Sharapova sweeps aside fellow Russian to target gold medal


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The Independent Online

Maria Sharapova will fight for an Olympic gold medal tomorrow after beating fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in the women's singles semi-finals this afternoon.

The third seed, who is playing in her first Games and carried Russia's flag at the opening ceremony, continued her fine form on the Wimbledon grass this week to win 6-2 6-3. She will play Serena Williams in the final.

Sharapova has served particularly well despite windy conditions and she overpowered Kirilenko in the first set in particular.

The 14th seed, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last month, hit back in the second set and was a break ahead at 3-2, but Sharapova responded with a run of four games in a row, putting away a forehand on her second match point.

In the final she will face either Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka, while Kirilenko will meet the loser in the bronze medal match.