World No. 2 Maria Sharapova is wary of her French Open semifinal opponent Petra Kvitova’s confidence and left-handed play, she said Wednesday.
Sharapova comfortably beat Estonian player Kaia Kanepi in the quarterfinal to set up a match with world No. 4 Petra Kvitova, who came back from a set down to beat qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
“I watched the end of her match against Shvedova. I can say that she played very confidently. When she’s confident, everything falls into place,” Sharapova said.
“She’s a left-hander, and that makes it more difficult, especially on clay.”
After Victoria Azarenka, the current No. 1, crashed out in the fourth round to unseeded Dominika Cibulkova on Sunday, Sharapova needs to reach the final to become No. 1 for the fourth time.
“It’s great that I can become the world No. 1 after this match,” she said.
Regaining the top spot would be all the sweeter after ending both 2009 and 2010 outside the top ten following an injury layoff.
“It’s nice that now I’m in this situation. Just a couple of years ago I was very far away from that. Obviously I want it.”
Sharapova won 6-2, 6-3 against 23rd seed Kanepi, the highest-rated player she has faced so far.
Sharapova’s only other encounter with a seed so far was a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of China’s Shuai Peng, seeded 28th, in the third round Saturday.
Kvitova battled back from a set down to oust Yaroslava Shvedova and reach the semifinal of the French Open on Wednesday.
Shvedova, ranked 142nd in the world, surprised Kvitova in the first set and was a break up in the decider, but the Czech prevailed to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Kvitova will be aiming to end her eight-month wait to play in a tournament final when she takes on Sharapova.