Sharapova knocked out of Madrid Open semis by Kuznetsova

MADRID (AP) Defending champion Maria Sharapova lost in the Madrid Open semifinals on Friday, falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4.

Kuznetsova beat Sharapova for the first time in seven years, breaking her opponent's serve three times and saving the one break point she faced.

''I'm just happy to be in the final,'' said Kuznetsova, who had never before even reached the semifinals at the Madrid tournament.

Kuznetsova, who will be playing in her first final in nine months, will meet either Serena Williams or Petra Kvitova for the title.

Sharapova, who could have returned to No. 2 in the rankings with a victory, said she wasn't able to take advantage of Kuznetsova's second serves like she had done previously.

''Today she had much more pop on her ball than I did, while I felt my shots were a bit too flat,'' Sharapova said. ''I also think the court and the bounce, with the altitude here, meant her spin was getting really high.''

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