Maria Sharapova will face Li Na in the semi-finals of the French Open.


Maria Sharapova will face Li Na in the semi-finals of the French Open after the Australian Open finalist put out title favourite Victoria Azarenka. Li, who lost to Kim Clijsters in the final in Melbourne, was just too consistent for the fourth seed , winning 7-5 6-2 to reach the last four at Roland Garros for the first time. The Chinese player will be the underdog against Sharapova, though, after she blasted her way past rising star Andrea Petkovic 6-0 6-3 on Court Philippe Chatrier to gain revenge for a fourth-round defeat at the Australian Open in January.

The seventh seed is looking to complete her set of grand slam titles and her performance today suggested she will take some stopping. Sharapova, who once described her movement on clay as like a cow on ice, came close to exiting the tournament in the second round when she trailed French teenager Caroline Garcia by a set and 4-1, and she admitted she had not dealt well with the windy conditions. The story today could not have been more different as the Russian reeled off eight games in a row against Petkovic, who simply could not cope with her opponent’s weight of shot. Sharapova, who has now equalled her best run at the French Open, looked coolness personified, moving well and throwing in very few unforced errors. Petkovic, who has become a crowd favourite for her bubbly personality, received a big cheer when she finally won a game but she was being made to fight for every point. The German, seeded 15th, broke Sharapova’s serve twice but she could not hold her own and the Russian sealed victory on her second match point when Petkovic netted a forehand.



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