Serena Williams moved a step closer to salvaging her season with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 semifinal victory over Amelie Mauresmo in the WTA Championships on Sunday.
"She just went for it," Mauresmo said. "I would give all the credit to her. I was playing some good tennis and she really raised her level a lot."
Williams, ranked eighth and without a Grand Slam title this season for the first time since 2001, advanced to Monday's final against Maria Sharapova, the 17-year-old Russian who stunned her in the Wimbledon final.
Sharapova defeated countrywoman Anastasia Myskina 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 for the first time after losing all three of their other meetings this year.
Dressed in a pink-and-white ruffled skirt and pink shirt, Williams pirouetted and blew kisses to 9,022 fans at Staples Center who were clearly on her side.
Mauresmo's loss guaranteed Lindsay Davenport will retain the top spot when the year-end WTA rankings are released on Tuesday.
Swede Jonas Bjorkman and Australian Todd Woodbridge beat defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan of the US 6-3, 6-4 in a round-robin match of the ATP Masters Cup doubles championships Sunday.
Bjorkman and Woodbridge improved to 2-0, while the second-seeded Bryans slipped to 1-1.
In other matches, Bahamas' Mark Knowles and Canadian Daniel Nestor defeated Xavier Malisse and Oliver Rochus of Belgium, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4, and Mahesh Bhupathi of India and Max Mirnyi of Belarus beat Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez of Argentina, 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Wimbledon champion and top-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland faces Gaston Gaudio of Argentina on Monday, the start of the opening round of singles competition.