STUTTGART, Germany -- Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova needed eight match points to put away top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-3 Friday for a place in the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals. Sharapova has won 11 consecutive matches on Stuttgarts indoor clay. Her semifinal opponent will be eighth-seeded Sara Errani, who was leading 6-3, 6-7 (6), 3-0 when Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a hand injury. "This was a big victory for me, the biggest since my injury," said Sharapova, who returned late last year after missing more than four months following shoulder surgery. Ana Ivanovic outlasted 2009 Stuttgart champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in a battle between two former French Open winners. Ivanovic is seeking her third title of the year and is the only player remaining in the tournament to have won an event this year. Radwanska played her best tennis in the penultimate game, when she fought off six match points and finally broke Sharapovas serve. Under pressure from Radwanska, Sharapova made two straight backhand errors as she dropped her serve. But Radwanska could not keep the momentum and Sharapovas forehand winner down the line gave her two more match points. Sharapova wasted the first with a wild forehand that was both long and wide, but then nailed a forehand winner to the corner to end the match. Sharapova is aiming for her first title of the year and the 30th of her career. Ranked No. 9, she would have fallen out of the top 10 with a loss Friday. "Ive been on the tour for so long I wasnt really thinking about it," she said. Suarez Navarro received treatment after winning the second set and quit three games later. "I feel really sorry, I have huge respect for her," Errani said. "It is not easy to play her. I tried to move her around and to be aggressive." Danny Drinkwater Jersey
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. Its been two seasons in one for both parties and neither will look back on the first 18 games fondly. "I think I took the fall for a lot of things," said Gay, reflecting on his short time in Toronto ahead of Wednesdays game against his former club.SUNRISE, Fla. - Gerard Gallant needed no sales pitch from the Florida Panthers. Hes aware that they have not won a playoff series in nearly two decades, that they missed the playoffs by a mile last season and that they change coaches on an all-too-regular basis. None of that deterred him, either. "You look at their roster, you look at their team, you look at their core players," Gallant said. "I think its a great opportunity and Im looking forward to working with this hockey club." He now has that chance, after being introduced as the 13th coach in Panthers history and the teams eighth bench boss since 2003. Gallant hasnt been an NHL head coach since 2006, but has plenty of experience as an assistant and a very successful stint as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His best player there was current Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, whos considered a key part of Floridas plan to turn things around. "Of course I was excited to hear that news," Huberdeau said of his reaction to Gallants hiring. "Gerard has been a great coach for me. He taught me a lot of stuff when I was in juniors and its because of him that Im in the NHL right now." When Gallant and Huberdeau were paired in juniors, their team won just about every night, or so it seemed. No ones expecting that in Florida, but some parallels will exist from that team and now, Gallant said. "Jonathans a great kid," Gallant said. "I knew the kid for tthree years and we worked well together.dddddddddddd Were going to have 23 players who are going to work hard and compete." Panthers general manager Dale Tallon called the search exhaustive, and the team was linked to plenty of other candidates throughout the two-month process, most notably the likes of Peter Laviolette, Barry Trotz and Dan Bylsma. When he met with Gallant, Tallon expected him to be in a downtrodden mood — the first interview was two days after the Montreal Canadiens, with whom Gallant was an assistant coach the past two seasons, were eliminated from this years playoffs. Instead, Gallant was high-energy, eager, excited. Tallon was impressed. "Ive never heard a negative word said about Gerard Gallant in any capacity in hockey," Tallon said. Its the start of a hectic time for Florida, which holds the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft — one they could trade away — and is expected to be a busy player when free agency begins July 1. And Gallant knows very well how quickly things can turn around. When he was hired in Montreal, the Canadiens were coming off a season where they finished with the fewest points in the East. With Gallant on the staff, the Canadiens won a division title in 2012-13, and topped the 100-point mark in the standings last season. The Panthers would enjoy nothing more than him being part of a similar turnaround in Florida. "The league is so close," Gallant said. "The teams are so close together now." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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