Australian Open 2012: Petra Kvitova Takes Second Set From Maria Sharapova

The second set of the 2012 Australian Open semifinal matchup between Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova stood in complete contrast to the first. Where Sharapova dominated the first set, turning 2-2 into a 6-2 win, Kvitova fired right back and seemed to figure something out right from the start of the second. She put Sharapova on the ropes quickly and the only question seemed to be how quickly she'd finish the job.

Kvitova raced out to a 3-0 lead before Sharapova finally got her bearings, staggering from a daze to mount some kind of challenge. It didn't last long, though Sharapova manged to take three games to make the set somewhat respectable. But with a 5-3 lead, Kvitova had plenty of chances to force a decisive third set.

And she did just that in the ninth game, completely dominating Sharapova and finishing the set with a flurry. As she stood up 40-0, Kvitova ripped an ace past Sharpova, finishing the set and forcing a third, 6-3.

Along the way, Sharapova seemed to lose her serve, which is worth keeping an eye on in the third set. She struggled early and often, especially on her first serve. It hasn't been able to find the mark with regularity as the match has worn on, which could spell disaster in a hurry as they battle for a berth in the finals.

Follow along with the semifinal matchups of the 2012 Australian Open in this StoryStream. For more on the tournament, visit our tennis hub.

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