Maria Sharapova makes Stuttgart final

Moscow: Reigning champion and top seed Maria Sharapova reached the final of the Stuttgart Premier tennis tournament after defeating local favourite Angelique Kerber in a hard fought semifinal.

The Russian world No.2 emerged the winner by a score of 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 against sixth-ranked German Kerber in a see-saw encounter Saturday.

Sharapova, a former Wimbledon champion, has been pushed to three sets in all three of her matches so far at the clay-court tournament, following earlier close calls against Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova.

The Russian will play either Chinese second seed Li Na or unseeded American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final.

The Stuttgart tournament, known as the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix for commercial reasons, has a prize fund of USD 800,000.