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By Erik Gudris | Saturday, April 26, 2014

 
Maria Sharapova Stuttgart Semifinals 2014

Defending champion Maria Sharapova will go for her third straight Stuttgart title after a dominating performance in Saturday's semifinal versus Sara Errani.

Photo Credit: AP

Two-time Porsche Tennis Grand Prix defending champion Maria Sharapova was all smiles after reaching the final in Stuttgart on Saturday.

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Facing Sharapova across the net in her semifinal was Italy's Sara Errani who had never taken a set from her opponent in four previous meetings. Not only was a place in Sunday's final at stake, but the winner would also stay in the top 10 rankings.

Sharapova took control early and didn't look back as she wrapped up the first set 6-1 with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Errani managed to break Sharapova early in the second set, but her advantage proved brief. Sharapova soon climbed out to a 4-1 lead. Despite trying to mix up her play, which included some surprise serve-and-volley tactics, Errani could not overcome Sharapova from any side of the court.

At match point, Sharapova struck a perfect down-the-line backhand winner, her 30th of the match, to seal the 6-1, 6-2 win in just 59 minutes.

"The further you go in the tournament, the harder it gets, and I really wanted to step up today and produce a good performance," Sharapova said to WTA.com. "The first tournament on clay is always tough...it's important to improve with each match and I think I've done that this week."

Sharapova will now stay in the top 10 while Errani is projected to now drop out of the elite tier. Sharapova next faces the winner of the second semifinal between Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

 

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