January 4, 2018 / 11:38 AM / 5 months ago

Sharapova, Halep cruise into Shenzhen semi-finals

(Reuters) - Former world number one Maria Sharapova cruised past Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas and into the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open in China on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a shot during a practice session at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo Picture Supplied by Action Images

Sharapova, who won 6-3 6-3, struck 24 winners and five aces to stay on course for a title clash with top-ranked Simona Halep after the Romanian dismissed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-2.

“I’m glad that I ended up being the winner of the match,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview.

“I didn’t play my best tennis and there’s certainly a lot of things to improve on in the next. The great thing is that I’m through and have another chance to play tomorrow.”

The five-times grand slam champion committed 22 unforced errors in the match but stepped up her game at decisive moments of the contest to get past her spirited rival.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros - Simona Halep of Romania v Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas - Paris, France - 25/05/16. Diyas returns a shot. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen Picture Supplied by Action Images

Sharapova’s only title in 2017 came at the Tianjin Open, after she came back from a 15-month doping ban, and the world number 59 is aiming for a title-winning start to the year in her first visit to Shenzhen.

“I feel like I’m having a nice little tour of China. It’s my fourth Chinese city in a few months,” Sharapova added.

“It’s obviously been a great welcome here. It took many years for me to play this event but I’m really glad that I did.”

Sharapova plays Katerina Siniakova next after the defending champion beat fellow Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-2 6-2.

Earlier, fourth seed Irina-Camelia Begu had to work hard to overcome Timea Babos 7-5 7-5 to set up a semi-final meeting with her compatriot Halep.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below