Sharapova storms into Tianjin quarter-finals

News Hour

Maria Sharapova overpowered Poland’s Magda Linette to enter the quarter-finals of the Tianjin Open on Thursday and is targeting a first title since returning from a 15-month doping ban.

The former world number one prevailed 7-5, 6-3 and will make her first quarter-finals appearance since Stuttgart in April, where she lost to Kristina Mladenovic in the next round.

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Sharapova, who was beaten by Simona Halep in the third round of the China Open last week, took a 4-3 lead in the first set before Linette hit back. But Sharapova broke her rival in the 12th game to take a 1-0 lead.

Ranked 15 places below world number 71 Linette because of her absence from the tour, the 30-year-old Russian appeared in control in the next set despite conceding an early break.

The five-times grand slam champion broke back twice and held on to set up a clash with Swiss qualifier Stefanie Vogele who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-2 6-3.

Meanwhile, defending champion Peng Shuai beat compatriot Wang Xiyu 6-2 6-2 while Sara Errani got past Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4 4-6 6-3.

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