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Rivals reunited: Kvitova faces Sharapova rematch in Melbourne semifinals

January 25, 2012 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Second seed Petra Kvitova is seeking to move to the top of the world rankings for the first time.
Second seed Petra Kvitova is seeking to move to the top of the world rankings for the first time.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 2011 Wimbledon finalists Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova will meet again
  • World No. 2 Kvitova and No. 4 Sharapova won their Australian Open quarterfinals
  • Czech Kvitova beat Italy's Sara Errani, while Sharapova defeated Ekaterina Makarova
  • Kvitova has won two of their three meetings, including the Wimbledon final

(CNN) -- World No. 2 Petra Kvitova and former No. 1 Maria Sharapova are set for a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon final after both reached the last four of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The two players are battling to become the new top-ranked woman following Caroline Wozniacki's quarterfinal defeat by defending champion Kim Clijsters on Tuesday.

Kvitova is the rising force in the female game after claiming her first major title with victory over Russia's three-time grand slam champion at the All England Club last July, and then winning the season-ending WTA Championships.

The Czech booked her spot in the Melbourne semifinals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Italian surprise package Sara Errani, who has never previously been beyond the third round of a grand slam.

A nervous Kvitova hit 22 unforced errors in the first set against the world No. 48 before triumphing in one hour and 51 minutes.

Becker on the Australian Open

By comparison, fourth seed Sharapova had a convincing 6-2 6-3 win against her 56th-ranked compatriot Ekaterina Makarova, who eliminated five-time champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.

Kvitova said her win on the grass of Wimbledon will count for nothing ahead of Thursday's rematch on a hard-court surface.

"I think it was a really good match from both sides," the 21-year-old said of last year's clash. "How I can compare? I can't because it was grass and here is the hard court.

"I mean, it will be similar match as the Wimbledon, but still it can be different. But tactics will be the same as the Wimbledon."

I've lost to her the last couple of times ... I think she is the one to beat right now
Maria Sharapova

Sharapova is searching for a first grand slam title since her win in Melbourne four years ago, which followed her breakthrough success at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004 and her 2006 U.S. Open triumph.

The 24-year-old has lost two of her three matches against Kvitova, including their last clash in Tokyo in September.

"I've lost to her the last couple of times, obviously the big one in Wimbledon," she said. "I think she is the one to beat right now.

"She's playing the best tennis in her career, coming off so many wins last year. I'm looking forward to the match-up -- I don't like losing so many times in a row, so I'll try my best."

Thursday's other semifinal will pit third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus -- who can also claim the No. 1 ranking -- against Belgian 11th seed Clijsters.

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