Sharapova edges Wozniacki in Key Biscayne semis

STEVEN WINE AP Sports Writer Published:

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- Maria Sharapova benefited from a chair umpire's overrule on the disputed final point Thursday and edged Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open.

At 40-30 in the last game, Sharapova hit a second serve that the linesman called long, which would have been a double-fault, but umpire Kader Nouni immediately reversed the ruling and ordered the point replayed. The call couldn't be reviewed because Wozniacki had no challenges left, although TV replays showed Nouni was correct to overrule.

Sharapova was awarded two serves and took advantage with a big first serve to set up an overhead slam for the victory.

Wozniacki, angry about the overrule, declined to shake Nouni's hand and had words with him as she walked to the exit.

Sharapova, seeded No. 2, improved to 4-0 in Key Biscayne semifinals. She's 0-3 in finals at the event.

The tournament is guaranteed a first-time women's champion. Sharapova's opponent Saturday will be the winner of Thursday night's match between No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 7 Marion Bartoli, who handed No. 1 and defending champion Victoria Azarenka her first loss of the year on Wednesday.

Sharapova advanced to her second successive final and third this year. She was runner-up at the Australian Open in January and at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

Wozniacki, a former No. 1 now ranked sixth, fell to 1-7 lifetime against opponents ranked in the top two.

Sharapova was in an attacking mode against Wozniacki, a relentless retriever whose defense helped her beat Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.

Sharapova went for winners at every opportunity and hit 55, but she also committed 46 unforced errors.

Wozniacki totaled only 13 winners and 25 errors.

Sharapova had a point for a 5-1 lead in the opening set but then began overhitting her forehand, which allowed Wozniacki to sweep five consecutive games and take the set.

Shrieking with each shot, Sharapova regained her accuracy thereafter. By the time she led 4-love in the second set, she had a 27-4 advantage in winners.

She took a 5-2 lead in the final set before Wozniacki staged one last rally, which fell short amid the fuss at the finish.

Sharapova improved to 17-1 in three-set matches since the beginning of 2011.