Maria Sharapova outlasted top-ranked Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 at the WTA Championships on Thursday, with both players advancing to the semifinals. Amelie Mauresmo faced Elena Dementieva in the late match. Sharapova, the defending champion, needed three match points before closing out the match after 2 hours, 8 minutes with a 107-mph ace. The 18-year-old Russian dropped her racket, raised her arms and soaked in the crowd's applause.
Davenport walked off the court, shook the umpire's hand and had her back turned by the time Sharapova caught up to her on the sideline for a halfhearted handshake.
Sharapova served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. But she netted a forehand to get broken, then Davenport won the final two games to force a third set in front of an announced crowd of 6,111 at Staples Center.
Sharapova earned the only break of the third in the fifth game with a forehand winner. Davenport saved three break points to hold trailing 4-3. She saved a match point to hold at 5-4, and had a break point when Sharapova double-faulted in the next game.
But Davenport committed two straight errors before Sharapova's 13th ace won the match, according to the AP.
Sharapova won only five more points and had three more winners than Davenport, with both women committing 31 unforced errors.
Davenport, already assured of a semifinal berth, has a 2-1 record in round-robin play, and will get Friday off. Sharapova is 2-0.