Tianjin Open: Maria Sharapova beats Stefanie Voegele to reach semi-final


Maria Sharapova of Russia

Maria Sharapova swatted aside Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour at the Tianjin Open on Friday to reach her second semi-final since returning from a 15-month doping ban.

The first-round match was played on Wednesday after rain wreaked havoc with the schedule. For a spot in the semifinals, Sharapova will play qualifier Stefanie Voegele, a 6-2, 6-3 victor over fifth seed Yulia Putintseva in one hour and 37 minutes.

A couple of out-wide aces and a massive backhand victor, Sharapova sealed the first set 6-3. "I had a first practice outdoors, and then I think it rained for 70 hours straight, unfortunately for the players".

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Third-seeded Peng Shuai of China also advanced to the quarter-finals, beating countrywoman Wang Xiyu 6-2 6-2.

Fifth seed Sorana Cirstea defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 7-6 (14), 6-4, to make it to the quarterfinals of the Upper Austria Ladies' Linz for the first time in six years.

Voegele and Sharapova shared early break, but from the sixth game the Russian took control of the match.

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Also on Thursday, Lin Zhu cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh, Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka posted a 6-3, 6-3 triumph versus China's Ying-Ying Duan and Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo needed three sets to record a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over China's Yafan Wang.

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