Pennetta, Stosur reach LA tennis final

LOS ANGELES: Italy's Flavia Pennetta brushed aside a shaky serve to book her spot in the Los Angeles Women's Tennis Championship final by rallying to beat Russian Maria Sharapova.

Pennetta, who had lost in her two previous meetings against Sharapova, posted a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 semi-final victory at the Home Depot Center.

"I didn't put a lot of my first serves in so I just tried to get my second serve in and play the point. She was making a lot of mistakes," Pennetta said.

Pennetta will face Australian Samantha Stosur in Sunday's final at the hardcourt facility in south central Los Angeles.

Stosur swept past Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-2 in just 62 minutes.

Sharapova, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, was ahead three games to one in the final set before she unravelled. The three-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova committed 61 unforced errors and made 16 double faults.

Pennetta clinched the win on the second match point as Sharapova sent a forehand wide. Just moments earlier Sharapova had survived the first match on her serve but then double faulted on the next point.

"I am very happy," Pennetta said. "It was a difficult match for me because I started well and won the first set 6-2 then I felt a little pressure in the second set because she is a great champion and not easy to beat. At 3-1 down I thought it was over but I fought until the end."

It will be the first career meeting between WTA veterans Stosur, 25, and Pennetta, 27.

"I never played against her," Pennetta said of Stosur. "But she is a great server and I will have to serve much better than I did today."

Stosur, who is seeking her first career singles title, hammered seven aces and converted three of seven break point chances Saturday as she beat Cirstea for the second time this year. They met for the first time in the French Open quarters.

Stosur has enjoyed a brilliant run of success over the past few months, improving her world ranking to 18.

The 13th seeded Stosur is known more for her success in doubles but was knocked out of that draw on Thursday.