Sharapova breezes into semifinal

Sharapova breezes into semifinal

Maria Sharapova eased into the semifinals of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament after seeing off qualifier Anett Kontaveit on Friday for her third-straight win on her comeback after a 15-month doping ban.

The 30-year-old five-time Grand Slam winner has yet to drop a set in Stuttgart and powered past Estonia’s Kontaveit, ranked 73rd, for a 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal win in one hour, 23 minutes.

This was another impressive display from the Russian, who hit four aces, 28 winners and just two double faults, while she converted five of her six break points.

“I served quite well and held my serve which gave me confidence, so I’m happy,” said Sharapova.
“We haven’t played each other before, so the first six games were just about working each other out.
“I kept myself in good shape, because once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back,” she added when asked about her fitness on court after 15 months out.

The former world number one will now play either France’s Kristina Mladenovic or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in Saturday’s semifinal.

Murray, Nadal through

In Barcelona Open, Andy Murray gained revenge on Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas but was pushed all the way in a gruelling three-hour encounter 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to make the semifinals on Friday.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal defeated Hyeon Chung 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 to advance to the last-four stage.
Ramos-Vinolas beat the world number one on Murray's return from an elbow injury in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

Murray, who accepted a late wildcard to the event in the Catalan capital to gain match practice ahead of next month’s French Open, fought well to edge out the world number 19 in a final set tiebreak.

The Wimbledon champion faces Dominic Thiem in Saturday’s semis after the Austrian ended Japanese lucky loser Yuichi Sugita's unlikely run to the quarters 6-1, 6-2.

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