Career Slam within Sharapova's grasp
Whether she's enjoying a cafe lunch, shopping on the Champs-Elysees or punishing an opponent on the soft red clay, Maria Sharapova sure enjoys these trips to the French Open. Women's semifinal line-upsports Updated: Jun 07, 2012 02:05 IST
Whether she's enjoying a cafe lunch, shopping on the Champs-Elysees or punishing an opponent on the soft red clay, Maria Sharapova sure enjoys these trips to the French Open.
"What girl doesn't love Paris?" she said.
Two more wins and she'll love it even more.Sharapova moved another step closer to filling in the last piece of the career Grand Slam, defeating Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.
Second-seeded Sharapova rolled through her 23rd-seeded opponent in 74 minutes, a much different scene than the three-set win over Klara Zakopalova in the fourth round that took more than three hours.
Her next opponent will be fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion who ended qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova's dream run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory. Sharapova leads their all-time series 3-2, including a win on clay earlier this year in Stuttgart.
Kvitova reached the semifinals for the third time over the last four Grand Slams.
Sharapova, meanwhile, made the semifinals at Roland Garros for the third time. She lost at that stage last year and in 2007.
"I love coming back here, love challenging myself to get further every year and I hope this is this year," she said.
If she wins the tournament, she'll add the French Open title to her championships at Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. If she makes the final, she is projected to move to No. 1 in the rankings.
Sharapova is 15-1 on clay this season with two championships, in Stuttgart and Rome.
Sliding around on the saturated clay in Paris, she looked very comfortable against Kanepi, who made her fourth Grand Slam quarter-final, but never found her groove in this matchup.
Shvedova came into Wednesday trying to become the first French Open qualifier to reach the semifinals and after breaking Kvitova twice to capture the first set, it looked doable.
But Kvitova turned more aggressive in the second and third sets, hitting 20 winners from the baseline to only nine for Shvedova.