Defending champion Maria Sharapova kept her composure to outclass Victoria Azarenka in three sets in the semi-finals of the French Open on Thursday.
The 26 year old, bidding to become the first female to retain her title on the Paris clay since Belgium’s Justine Henin in 2007, conceded the second set before finding her range in the third, eventually winning through 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Sharapova will next lock horns with America’s Serena Williams after the 15-time Grand Slam champion thumped Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in 46 minutes.
The World number one, who won her only Roland Garros title 11 years ago by beating her sister Venus in the final, is a commanding 13-2 lifetime against Sharapova.
The men’s semifinals on Friday will have Serbia’s Novak Djokovic meeting seven-time champion Rafael Nadal and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga taking on fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer.