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Sharapova Cruises to Semis

Top seed Maria Sharapova of Russia advanced to the semifinals of the China Open of WTA tournament, beating 39th ranked Shinobu Asagoe of Japan 6-4, 6-1 on Friday.


Thus Sharapova's, world No. 1, will encounter her compatriot Maria Kirilenko, who pipped China's Sun Tiantian 6-1, 6-3 in an early clash on Friday.


As winner of 10 WTA tours, Sharapova was broken in the first game in Set One, but broke back in the next, and led the set until5-2 when Asagoe fought back to win the 8th and 9th games. However,the queen of 2004 Wimbledon Open let no chances go slip to end the set 6-4.


The 18-year-old Sharapova, the 15th woman and first from Russiato hold world No. 1 ranking, played much better in the second set, leading the way to 5-0 before losing the 6th game. She then wrapped up the match at 6-1 in one hour and six minutes.


With this victory, Sharapova improved her win-loss record to 51-8 in 2005 and that of her career 172-42, while 29-year-old Asagoe down to 23-21 and 270-189.


"I didn't have a good start, but I tried to pull back and control the match to get back to win." Sharapova said, "My opponent is physically fit and I have to play aggressively."


She played down Serena Williams' exit and Venus Williams' pullout and said that was the sport and that was what happened.


"Just have fun," she added.


(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2005)

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