Sharapova storms into semis

Maria Sharapova swept into the semi-finals of the Open GDF Suez in Paris on Friday with a 6-2 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova will next face fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after the world number 26 battled to a three-set win over German fourth seed Angelique Kerber.

In contrast to Sharapova, Pavlyuchenkova needed two hours and 27 minutes to squeeze past her opponent via a final set tie-break 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7/3).

Pavlyuchenkova said: "I just tried to stay calm and keep playing my game.

"After I lost the first set I was a bit more relaxed so it was easier to focus on my game and technique. I had too much emotion in the first set but in the second I felt much better."

Home favourite Alize Cornet beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 7-6 (8/6) 5-7 6-3 to reach the last four where she will face third seed Sara Errani, who was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.