Tennis: Sharapova finally finds comfort zone at Miami

Maria Sharapova regained her big-match rhythm after twice being pushed to three sets, defeating Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1 Tuesday to reach the ATP and WTA Miami Masters semi-finals.

The Russian fourth seed's 90-minute victory over the Czech eighth seed, a fellow Wimbledon champion, was a relief for five-time Miami finalist Sharapova, who had faced huge battle in her previous two victories.

The time, it was relatively straightforward for the crowd-pleaser as she bids for her first Miami crown.

"I started a bit slow in the first set," Sharapova said. "But I quickly got my energy and and started to take charge in the second set. I was playing swell by then, exactly as I wanted."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova broke four times as she was untroubled by Kvitova after the early stages, in which she lost the opening game but got the break back midway through the set.

"I didn't have a good first few games, so I was happy that I was steady, that I kept trying to do the right thing, kept trying to be aggressive," Sharapova said. "It paid off as the match went on, because I made a few too many unforced errors in the beginning."

Sharapova had great respect for the 2011 Wimbledon champion even after taking control in the second set.

"She's a grand slam champion," Sharapova said. "You can never underestimate someone that goes on the court that has that experience, that has had such a big win in her career. She's capable of playing really great tennis, and I think everyone knows that."

Sharapova could have well set herself up for a re-run of the 2013 Miami final, in which she was beaten by Serena Williams.

Top seed Williams faced a quarter-final test later against German fifth seed Angelique Kerber.