NEW YORK – A full day of tennis at Flushing Meadows is set: Roger Federer vs. Nikolay Davydenko and Andy Roddick vs. Mikhail Youzhny in the men's semis Saturday afternoon, then Maria Sharapova against Justine Henin-Hardenne at 8 p.m. for the women's title.
The top-seeded Federer will be trying to win his third Slam of the year. The No. 7 Davydenko and the unseeded Youzhny hope for an unlikely all-Russian final.
Friday night, the usually loud-grunting Sharapova suddenly went silent — for a few shots, anyway — and made her points. She stayed focused and beat No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo.
"The Open is all about the night matches," Sharapova said.
Jelena Jankovic probably wishes she'd kept quiet, too. Jankovic talked herself out of a chance to upset Henin-Hardenne.
The third-seeded Sharapova beat Mauresmo 6-0, 4-6, 6-0, playing her way back into a Grand Slam final for the first time since her breakthrough win at Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17.
Aiming at her sixth major championship, Henin-Hardenne showed the steady mental and physical approach of a champion while Jankovic melted down, winning the final 10 games for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory.
"I came back from nowhere today," the second-seeded Henin-Hardenne said. "I feel lucky to be in the final."
Sharapova started out pounding the ball, punctuating almost every shot with a shriek that echoed around Arthur Ashe Stadium.
After losing the second set, Sharapova took a different tact to start the final set — she didn't make a sound for the first few points, coming back from 0-30 to break Mauresmo in the first game.
Sharapova didn't stray too far from her style, however, and turned up the volume as the match wore on. When it was over, she wore a white T-shirt with glittery gold lettering: "I feel pretty when I grunt," it said.
Mauresmo did not, however, make an issue of Sharapova's shouts. In Sharapova's previous match, Tatiana Golovin told the chair umpire it was getting too loud.
"You hear it much more when you watch the match than when you play against her," Mauresmo said. "I mean, I just totally don't pay attention to that."
Sharapova had been 0-3 against Mauresmo and is 1-4 against Henin-Hardenne. Sharapova has lost the last four with Henin-Hardenne — including matchups at the Australian Open this year and the French Open in 2005 — and has won only one set in that span.
"I had a terrible record against Amelie, and that ended today," Sharapova said. "I have a terrible record against Justine, so I hope that's a good luck charm at the Open."
Since her win at Wimbledon, Sharapova had lost five straight times in Grand Slam semifinals. She flatly said making past that point was not a big deal.
"Doesn't mean anything to me," she said. "I've said it a million times."
Henin-Hardenne's bid to reach the final seemed to be in jeopardy. That is, until Jankovic spoke up.
The 19th-seeded Jankovic was a point from taking a 5-2 lead in the second set when got into a dispute with chair umpire Enric Molina. Jankovic faulted, then began yapping after her first serve was called out.
"Did you see it?" she asked Molina.
Molina said yes, telling her, "I'm not going to lie to you."
"I'm not a machine," he added.
Flustered, Jankovic didn't call for an instant-replay challenge and double-faulted.
"I'm telling him he has to be involved in the calls," Jankovic said. "He can see better. It was a tough point."
After that, she didn't win another game. So her first Grand Slam final will have to wait.
"My concentration went down," the 21-year-old Jankovic said. "But what can I do? I learn from my mistakes. I am young, and I hope the next time I won't do the same mistake."
"I had the match. I thought that in the first set I was the better player — way better," Jankovic said. "I was controlling all the points, was on the top of my game. She didn't know what to do. That's how I felt: I was dominating."
Sharapova saw Jankovic fall apart in her first Slam semifinal
"It's a new thing for her. I don't think she's had that much experience," Sharapova said.