French Open: Maria Sharapova beats Kanepi to reach semis

Maria Sharapova


Roland Garros, Paris
27 May - 10 June
Live text commentary on BBC Sport website from 13:00 BST; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online from 13:00

Maria Sharapova stayed on course to complete a career Grand Slam and become world number one by beating Kaia Kanepi to reach the French Open semi-finals.

Sharapova had little trouble in overcoming Kanepi 6-2 6-3 and will play Petra Kvitova, who defeated Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6 6-2 6-4, in the last four.

The Russian second seed will top the rankings if she reaches the final of the only Grand Slam she has yet to win.

US Open champion Sam Stosur will play Sara Errani in the other semi-final.

Sharapova's match started with three consecutive breaks of serve, 26-year-old Estonian Kanepi double faulting twice in the opening game, before a double from the Russian levelled the scores.

But Sharapova settled the quicker and was the first to hold her serve to take a 3-1 lead, as Kanepi struggled find the form that helped her knock out ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round.

After three set points and 35 minutes, the 25-year-old took the first set and, when Kanepi quickly gave up an early break in the second, the outcome no longer looked in doubt.

Sharapova failed to serve out the match on her first attempt at 5-2 but completed victory by breaking Kanepi again.

"I'm happy to be back in the semi-finals, the third time I've made it this far," said Sharapova.

"I really hope that the win can come this year. My preparation has been really good - it was nice to win two tournaments coming in. I'm happy with the way I've improved, but it only gets tougher from here."

Sharapova can expect a sterner test in the last four against Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Kvitova, who edged past qualifier Shvedova.

The Czech, bidding to become the first left-hander to win the tournament since Monica Seles in 1992, was quickly on the backfoot and found herself a set down against her Kazakh opponent, who knocked defending champion Li Na out in the fourth round.

But she recovered and made 16 winners to Shvedova's five to claim the second set and send the match into a decider.

Kvitova recovered from an early break to earn a hard-fought win, her rival failing to hold her serve at 5-4 down.

"Every point that we played was really tough," said Kvitova. "It wasn't easy and I'm really happy that my serve helped me and I played my aggressive game again."

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