Stuttgart, Germany (Sports Network) - Defending champion Maria Sharapova
grinded out a 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win over third-seeded German Angelique Kerber in
Saturday's semifinals at the $795,000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
The top-seeded Sharapova struggled with her serve at times, committing six
double faults during the two-hour, seven-minute match. However, she was able
to run her winning streak on clay to 15 straight.
Sharapova is looking to become the first player since Lindsay Davenport
(2004-05) to win back-to-back Stuttgart titles.
The 26-year-old Russian will be appearing in her third final this year after
reaching the championship match at both Indian Wells and Miami in March. She
captured her 28th career title at Indian Wells, but fell to 0-5 in Miami
finals with a three-set loss to Serena Williams.
Later, China's Li Na posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over American qualifier
Bethanie Mattek-Sands to set up a blockbuster final on Sunday.
The second-seeded Li opened the 2013 season by claiming her seventh career
title at the inaugural Shenzhen Open.
Sharapova owns an 8-5 lifetime record against Li, but lost their most recent
encounter in the semifinals of this year's Australian Open.
The 2013 Stuttgart champ will collect $130,000 and a new Porsche 911 Carrera.
The Sports Network