The defending champion Maria Sharapova overcame a miserable start in the quarterfinals Wednesday to beat Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. It was the first victory of Sharapova’s career after losing an opening set 6-0. Her opponent Friday will be two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who reached her first Roland Garros semifinal by beating Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (3), 6-2.
The warmest weather of the tournament greeted the quarterfinalists, and Jankovic quickly had Sharapova sweating. In the first set the Russian repeatedly missed the lines by narrow margins or clipped the net cord, and the match was 35 minutes old before she won a game _ and only then because Jankovic double-faulted on break point.
Jankovic won 27 points in the first set, 20 on unforced errors by her opponent.
“I still felt like I was in the match,” Sharapova said. “And I was.”
She then began to find her range while hitting even harder than before, while Jankovic did her best to withstand the barrage. In contrast to Sharapova’s metronomic shrieking, Jankovic went about her business in silence _ until she started muttering to herself as her lead disappeared.
“It was a big fight,” Jankovic said. “It was great tennis out there. We battled.”