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Hingis and Sharapova set up Tokyo showdown

'Swiss Miss' crushed Kirilenko while the defending champion thrashed Stosur in their Pan Pacific quarter-final matches.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 13:25 IST

Martina Hingis crushed Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-1 at the Pan Pacific Open on Friday to set up a semi-final clash with top seed Maria Sharapova.

Defending champion Sharapova, who was just 15 when injury forced Hingis into early retirement in 2002, thrashed Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-1 6-4 in the day's first quarter-final.

Hingis returned to the game last month, reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals and secured a second semi-final spot in four tournaments on her comeback by blitzing Kirilenko.

Former world number one Hingis, a four-times Tokyo winner, was unranked three weeks ago but rose to 117th after her strong run in Melbourne.

The "Swiss Miss" demonstrated why she won five grand slam singles titles between 1997 and 1999 with superb shot-making and clever angles.

The 25-year-old Hingis sealed the first set after chasing down a Kirilenko volley to whip a backhand down the line and she quickly took control of the second.

Hingis won the Pan Pacific Open title in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Sharapova was never seriously threatened by Stosur and the world number four promised to attack Hingis in their semi-final on Saturday.

"Obviously, I've never played her before so I'm really excited," said the 18-year-old Sharapova. "I'll try to attack her serve because I think that's one of her weaknesses.

"She reads the game so well so I'll try not to give her the time she needs."

Second seed Elena Dementieva faces Czech fifth seed Nicole Vaidisova while former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina meets fellow Russian Elena Likhovtseva later on Friday.

Five Russians made the quarter-finals in Tokyo, the most since six reached the last eight on home soil at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last October.

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 11:36 IST