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PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) - Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ended Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko's stern resistance 7-6(3) 6-2 to claim her maiden French Open semi-final spot on Wednesday.
Former world number one Azarenka, who has now reached the last four in all the grand-slam events, will meet defending champion Maria Sharapova, the second seed, for a place in Saturday's final.
Azarenka took the opening set after 76 minutes, with Kirilenko taking a medical time out to apparently have her lower back treated.
The double Australian Open champion broke early in the second set and held firm, wrapping up the win on her opponent's serve after nearly two hours. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)