Sharapova eases to victory to set up semi-final clash with Kvitova
Maria Sharapova completed a comfortable victory over Kaia Kanepi in the quarter-finals of the French Open on Wednesday, with her Estonian opponent failing to test the second seed in a match lasting a little over an hour on court Philipe Chatrier.
Stepping out onto a menacingly grey and cloudy court, Sharapova did her best to brighten proceedings with some aggressive play of her own. Early nerves from both players led to three successive breaks of serve in the opening set, with serving proving particularly taxing in blustery conditions. However, this was to be a minor glitch for Sharapova who quickly found her form, hurrying to a 6-2 first set score line, in just 35 minutes. Kanepi was struggling to produce any of the form which saw her dispose of ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki and Sharapova showed no mercy in racing to a 5-2 second set lead. Despite failing to serve out the match, the Russian quickly recaptured her form, breaking the serve of Kanepi to wrap up a resounding victory which keeps her on course to complete a career grand slam and reclaim her world number one status.
Sharapova will now face Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who defeated qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova in a tense battle, eventually running out 3-6 6-2 6-4 winner. Kvitova, who is bidding to become the first left handed winner of the French Open since Monica Seles in 1992, quickly found herself a set down against her Russian opponent. However, the Czech took a stranglehold of the game, producing 16 second set winners on her way to levelling the match.
Sharapova will be the undoubted favourite for the semi- final clash, however, Kvitova will draw heart from her victory over the Russian at Wimbledon last year. Sharapova holds a 3-2 lead in head-to- head matches and will have all the motivation she needs in order to reach the final for the first time in her career.
On the other side of the draw we find the US Open champion Sam Stosur up against Sara Errani of Italy. The sixth seed Australian defeated Dominika Cibulkova, conqueror of world number one Victoria Azarenka, 6-4 6-1. Errani continued to surprise the Paris crowds, seeing off tenth seed Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6. Errani will be up against it, facing Stosur who has had a magnificent season, as she continues to impress in the twilight of her career.
Will Sharapova claim the opportunity for a career grand slam or will it continue to be a tournament of shocks? Can Stosur reach the final for the second time in three years and go one step further than in 2010 to claim the title?