WTA TIANJIN - Sharapova cruised to her second semifinal of the year

Sharapova into Tianjin tennis quarters

Sara Errani returned from a two-month suspension for a failed drug test to cruise to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over the Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova.

Maria Sharapova swatted aside Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour at the Tianjin Open on Friday to reach her second semi-final since returning from a 15-month doping ban.

Venus Williams was knocked out in the second round of the Hong Kong Open by 19-year-old Naomi Osaka.

Sharapova got off to an inauspicious start, as three unforced errors and a double fault handed Voegele a break lead in the opening game of the match. In the eighth game, a streak of those return near the opponent's body helped Sharapova to move 0-40 up. Sharapova, a five-time major-winner, is now ranked a lowly 86 in the world and she needed a wildcard to enter the Tianjin tournament.

A couple of out-wide aces and a massive backhand victor, Sharapova sealed the first set 6-3. At 4-3, Voegele fended off triple break point, but a service return victor gave the Russian a fourth opportunity, and Voegele double faulted down break point again to give away another of her service games.

Former No.1 Sharapova saved nine of the 10 break points she faced against the 71st-ranked Linette.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is also through to the quarters, beating Zhu Lin of China 6-3 6-4.

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