Maria Sharapova reaches final in Miami

Maria Sharapova admitted she will need a smart game plan to stop Victoria Azarenka lifting the Sony Ericsson Open title in Saturday's Miami final.

Russian Sharapova reached her first final of the year in impressive style as she powered back from dropping the first set to beat Andrea Petkovic 3-6 6-0 6-2.



Germany's Petkovic had been the surprise of the tournament, with the 21st seed knocking out world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and Jelena Jankovic in the quarter-finals.



She looked well set to add 16th seed Sharapova to her victims, but the 23-year-old had no answer to Sharapova's fightback.



Azarenka, the eighth seed from Belarus, was a remarkably easy 6-0 6-3 winner against third-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva.



Assessing the threat posed by Azarenka, who won the Miami title in 2009, Sharapova said: "She plays really aggressive and swings really hard from both sides. She's a great returner. It'll be tough.



"I lost to her the last time we played in Stanford, so I'll look to change a few things around if I play her."



Azarenka won the Stanford match in straight sets last year, but they have each beaten the other twice in their four career meetings to date.



Sharapova won titles in Memphis and Strasbourg last year, and now has her eyes on one of the biggest prizes in women's tennis.



Asked what it would mean to triumph in this weekend's final, Sharapova said: "It would mean a lot. It's the biggest tournament I think after the grand slams.



"I look forward to going out there and getting it done.



"I feel like I'm finding my form."



Victory for the 16th seed over the 21st seed saw Sharapova avenge her defeat to Petkovic at the Australian Open.



Petkovic admitted she ran out of steam, with efforts in the previous rounds catching up with her.



"By the end of the second set I was getting frustrated with myself because I felt my energy slowly slipping away," she said.



"Of course I'm in a semi-final and I wanted to win this, so there was a little dialogue inside.



"You're like, 'Come on, you can win this', but your body is like, 'No, I don't want to'.



"I was fighting with myself inside.



"A champion like Maria, she just feels any kind of weakness, and she just played much, much better."



Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable