Tianjin Open: Maria Sharapova coasts to semis

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 13, 2017 at 2:10 PM
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Maria Sharapova put on another banner performance at the Tianjin Open on Friday and the Russian cruised past Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals in Tianjin, China.

The former World No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam winner received a wild card into the event. This is Sharapova's first semifinal appearance since her season debut in April after returning from a 15-month suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium.

In the semifinals, the 30-year-old Sharapova will play No. 3 seed Peng Shuai, the defending champion and hometown favorite who routed Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour.

"Obviously she really likes playing here and is the defending champion, so she feels really good about the court and the atmosphere," Sharapova told reporters when asked about her upcoming match against Peng.

"We haven't played in a long time and I know that it will be a tough match, just because it's the semifinals and when you get to the latter stages it's not getting easier. She really likes playing here and is playing well, and I hope to rise to the occasion."

Sharapova has not yet dropped a set this week, and she won 85 percent of her first-serve points against Voegele.

In an earlier quarterfinal, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus notched her third consecutive win over a Chinese player this week by defeating Zhu Lin 6-3, 6-4.

Sabalenka will take on qualifier Sara Errani in the semifinals after the Italian staged a comeback against American Christina McHale, winning 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-1.

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