PARIS So straightforward was Maria Sharapova's quarter-final win over Kaia Kanepi on Wednesday that she could even have found time on Philippe Chatrier Court to indulge in her favorite hobby: people watching.
A decibel-busting display of power tennis helped her to reach her third French Open semi-final with a routine 6-2 6-3 win that was little more than a one-sided mismatch.
The towering Russian fired a series of winners, each accompanied by her habitual shrieks, to break her opponent's serve seven times and walked off court with a smile and a wave after one hour 14 minutes of tennis.
It left Sharapova the afternoon free to swan off to the Champs Elysees and soak up the atmosphere among the locals.
"I love people watching in Tokyo but Paris is another level," she explained to reporters who had little to ask about the match.
"I love the way that people go about their lives and the way they sit at cafes like a few centimeters from the cars going by.
"Everyone sits close to each other and you're eavesdropping on their conversations."
Sharapova looked much more at ease on the clay than her rival and had Kanepi on the run from the opening game.
The Estonian, backed by a small but noisy contingent of face-painted and flag-waving fans, froze on the big stage and looked happy to sit back and wait for a mistake. They were few and far between.
Sharapova will now play Petra Kvitova who came through a tough three-setter against Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.
The Russian leads their head-to-head 3-2 but the memory of last year's Wimbledon final when Kvitova shocked her to win the title will no doubt be on her mind.
"She's an extremely tough opponent," Sharapova said. "When she's confident and when she's hitting the ball well she's quite dangerous. It's going to be another level.
"I hope that I can raise my level too."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)