Thursday 22 March 2018

Tennis: Sharapova's power blows Kanepi away

Nigel Whittaker

MARIA SHARAPOVA produced a decibel-busting display of power to reach the French Open semi-finals for the third time with a 6-2 6-3 win over Kaia Kanepi.

The Russian second seed fired a series of winners, each accompanied by her habitual shrieks, to break her opponent's serve seven times in a straight-forward quarter-final encounter that lasted only one hour and 14 minutes.

The Estonian, who was backed by a small, but noisy contingent of face-painted and flag-waving fans, froze on the big stage of the Philippe Chatrier Court.

Sharapova will now play Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who wriggled out of a spot of bother in the final set to end the gutsy run of Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Two days after conquering 2011 Paris winner Li Na, doubles-specialist Shvedova looked set to become the first player from her nation, and the first qualifier, to reach the semi-finals here as she led Kvitova 4-2 in the final set.

However, the Czech fourth seed kept her focus through driving rain to complete victory after her 142nd-ranked opponent drilled a backhand wide on match-point.

Irish Independent

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