Thursday 18 January 2018

Maria Sharapova through to last four of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates after she defeated Estonia's Anett Kontaveit
Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates after she defeated Estonia's Anett Kontaveit

Maria Sharapova moved into the semi-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as the former world number one continued her controversial return to competitive tennis with a 6-3 6-4 win over Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

The Russian, a wildcard entry for the tournament in Stuttgart, tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and saw her original two-year ban reduced on appeal to a 15-month suspension.

Sharapova, though, has not let the furore unsettle her game, which once again proved too much for Kontaveit and kept the 30-year-old, who is yet to drop a set, on course for qualifying at the French Open.

Elsewhere on Friday, Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic defeated Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-2 to secure her place in the semi-finals against Sharapova.

World number five Simona Halep proved far too strong for Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, taking just under an hour to record a convincing 6-3 6-1 victory, while wild card Laura Siegemund beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7/3) 5-7 6-3.

At the Istanbul Cup in Turkey, number three seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania battled past home player Basak Eraydin 2-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 to make the semi-finals.

Top seed Elina Svitolina joined her with a 6-4 6-4 win over Sorana Cirstea of Romania, while there were also wins for Jana Cepelova who beat Dayana Yastremska 2-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-4, and Elise Mertens, who beat Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 6-4 4-6 6-2.

Press Association

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