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Sharapova marches into Tianjin semi-finals

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland during their women’s singles quarter-final match at the WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in Tianjin on October 13, 2017. — AFP picMaria Sharapova of Russia hits a return against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland during their women’s singles quarter-final match at the WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in Tianjin on October 13, 2017. — AFP picTIANJIN, Oct 13 — Maria Sharapova equalled her best performance since returning from a doping suspension when she reached the Tianjin Open semi-finals today.

The Russian easily defeated Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-1 in 64 minutes. The former world number one will face either China’s Peng Shuai or Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last four.

Sharapova returned from a 15-month suspension in April for taking the banned substance meldonium.

In her first tournament back, in Stuttgart, she made it to the semi-finals but has been unable to repeat that feat again, until now.

The 30-year-old, ranked 86 in the world, was granted a wildcard for Tianjin because her ranking was too low. — AFP

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