Sharapova reaches her fourth Miami final

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during Day 11 at Crandon...

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during Day 11 at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 4:53 PM ET

KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. - In a battle of former world number 1s, Maria Sharapova outlasted Caroline Wozniacki to reach the final at the $4.828 million Sony Ericsson Open.

The second-seeded Sharapova got past the fourth-seeded Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in just over 2 1/2 hours at Crandon Park outside of Miami.

Sharapova appeared well on her way to capturing the opening set Thursday by running out to a 4-1 lead, but her mighty forehand abandoned her for a stretch as Wozniacki surprisingly won five straight games to take the stanza.

The three-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, however, fought back to take the second set handily, setting the stage for a tight third.

Sharapova tallied two breaks to the Danish Wozniacki's one in the final set, which the Russian ultimately closed out by holding serve.

The powerful Sharapova is now 4-2 lifetime against Wozniacki.

Sharapova's opponent in Saturday's final will be fifth-seeded Pole Aggie Radwanska or seventh-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli of France, as that match will be staged on Thursday night. Radwanska was a big winner in Dubai last month, while Bartoli handed Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka her first loss of the year here on Wednesday night.

The 24-year-old Sharapova, who lost to Azarenka in last year's Miami final and the championship match at Indian Wells two weeks ago, is a three-time Sony Ericsson Open runner-up who will appear in her fourth final here in eight years.

Sharapova will now appear in her 40th career WTA final, seeking a 25th title. She's looking for her first championship of 2012, having lost to Azarenka in finals at Indian Wells and the Aussie Open this year.

Saturday's big winner will pocket $712,000.


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