Tennis

Sharapova and Pavlyuchenkova reach Open GDF semis

Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens
Kirsten Flipkens returns the ball to Yvonne Meusburger.
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PARIS (AP)

Top-seeded Maria Sharapova thrashed eighth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to set up an all-Russian semifinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Open Gaz de France.

Although Sharapova dropped her serve once, the four-time Grand Slam champion broke Flipkens' serve five times to win in little more than an hour.

"We haven't played against each other in quite a bit of time," Sharapova said ahead of her match against Pavlyuchenkova. "She's playing really well this year and had a great win today, so I'm sure she'll be really confident."

In a more tightly-contested match, Pavlyuchenkova upset fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Both had seven aces and also dropped serve four times each.

"I just tried to stay calm and keep playing my game," Pavlyuchenkova said. "After I lost the first set I was a bit more relaxed even, so it was easier to focus on my game and my technique. I think I had too much emotion in the first set."

In Saturday's other semifinal, No. 3 Sara Errani of Italy will play France's Alize Cornet.

Errani, last year's losing finalist, had little trouble beating Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, while Cornet needed three hours to get past Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-3.

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