Sharapova to face Li Na in title clash

Sharapova to face Li Na in title clash

Defending champion Maria Sharapova will take on Li Na of China in the Italian Open final after a confident 6-3, 6-4 victory over Germany's Angelique Kerber on Saturday.  

The Russian world number two gained revenge on 12th seed Kerber for a defeat earlier this year, overpowering her opponent with heavy groundstrokes. Li received a walkover into the final after title favourite Serena Williams withdrew on Saturday with a lower back injury.

A winner in Stuttgart last month, Sharapova broke early in both sets and was never headed as she reached her fifth final of the year. Williams said she had pulled out "as a precaution" and expected to be 100 percent fit for the French Open, which begins on May 27. "If it's not 100 percent it's better not to play and make it worse," the world number six said.

Nadal, Djokovic win

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal moved a step closer to another possible final showdown after recording straight-set wins in the quarterfinals on Friday. 

Holder and top seed Djokovic survived a tight first set to beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-1, while Nadal, striking the ball better than he has done in months, recorded an impressive 6-4, 7-5 victory over in-form Czech Tomas Berdych.  
In the semifinals, Nadal will meet fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who edged out Richard Gasquet of France 7-6, 6-3. 

Djokovic will play Roger Federer, who demolished Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-1, 6-2.

Hesh-Bopanna in semis

The Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna upset top seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Canada’s Daniel Nestor in a hard-fought battle to enter the men’s doubles semifinals. The seventh seeded Indians took an hour and nine minutes to get the better of the top seeds, 6-4, 7-5. They will next take on third seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

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