Sharapova vs. Kvitova: Score, Recap, Highlights from Australian Open Semifinal

Luis BatlleContributor IJanuary 26, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26:  Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates a point in her semifinal match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day eleven of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

After a loss to Petra Kvitova in the 2011 Wimbledon final, it was clear Maria Sharapova was looking for her revenge at this 2012 Australian Open.

It was revenge that she would get.

Much like the semifinals match between Azarenka and Clijsters, Sharapova would win the first set, lose the second and go on to win the third set to lock up a spot in the Australian Open final.

The match was a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory for Sharapova, who came out hot from the start. Sharapova would lose the second set thanks to some exceptional play from Kvitova, yet the Russian simply had too much firepower in the third for the No. 2 seed.

After getting beat on winners 14-5 in the second set, Sharapova would respond with a memorable third-set performance.

In the 6-4 third-set victory, Sharapova held a 15-20 advantage in unforced errors and was able to land 69 percent of her first serves. This was 29 percentage points better than the 40 percent Kvitova would land in the match.

This was essential in a match where her serve was the dictator in the third set. Sharapova took advantage of both breakpoint opportunities, winning two important points that would decide the matchup.

In the finals, Sharapova will take on Victoria Azarenka, who has been playing arguably the best tennis of any player in the women's draw. Expect a match for the ages in this 2012 Australian Open final.

What's at Stake in the Australian Open final

The lineup for the Australian Open final is officially decided, with No. 4-seed Maria Sharapova and No. 3-seed Victoria Azarenka facing off for all the marbles.

Sharapova will look to win her first Grand Slam title since 2008—a win in Melbourne—and the fourth of her career.

Azarenka is just 22 years of age and is playing in her first career Grand Slam final. With little to lose against the favored Sharapova, Azarenka may well have the advantage going into this matchup.

Azarenka will have to dictate the pace with her shots as she did against Clijsters, as she would essentially get Clijsters to commit 21 unforced errors with her exceptional shot placement in the third set.

Sharapova has a major counter against Azarenka with one of the better forehands in the women's game. The force she would hit her winners with in the win over Kvitova was remarkable to watch.

The matchup has a No. 1 ranking in the world on the line, making a Sharapova vs. Azarenka showdown all the more promising of a spectacle.

Top Statistics and Facts of the Semifinals match

  • Sharapova had just 18 winners in the semifinals victory
  • Kvitova committed 41 unforced errors, while Sharapova committed just 18
  • An Azarenka vs. Sharapova final has a world-No.1 ranking hanging in the balance
  • Sharapova went 5-of-5 in her breakpoint opportunities against Kvitova, a factor that would ultimately decide the match