Sharapova into Australian Open final vs Azarenka

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)

Maria Sharapova has advanced to the Australian Open final and given herself a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking after beating Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 on Thursday.

Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open champion, can take the No. 1 ranking if she beats Victoria Azarenka in Saturday's final at Melbourne Park. Caroline Wozniacki, who has held the top ranking for most of the last 15 months, lost in the quarterfinals here and will drop from the top spot when new rankings are released by the WTA Tour next week.

Earlier Thursday, Azarenka beat defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

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