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By Lauren Lynch

(August 18, 2011) After making it to the Cincinnati finals last, Maria Sharapova defeated former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3 to push closer to the finals this year.

First she has to get through Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals, who she has never lost to. In fact she has an 8-0 record against the Aussie.

On Thursday, Sharapova ended the World No. 13 with a great return of serve in 81 minutes. Once known for her strong serve, the 6 '' Russian has changed up her game to be more defensive like how she won 32 of the 63 total points on her return game and 31 on her serve.

Sharapova once again is suffering with five double faults but was able to break her fellow Russian's serve six of eight chances while only letting her's go two of four attempts.

Catch her post match interview:

After defeating World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Christina McHale of the United states could no get past Nadia Petrova and lost 6-3, 6-3.

World No. 27 Petrova hit a whooping nine aces and the World No. 76 American hit five. The Russian won more on her first and second serve while attacking McHale's service game with four breaks of serve in nine attempts.

Petrova has improved in the last couple of months and had less wins the McHale in 2011(29-11) but won a WTA title at College Park in July and has been playing well ever since. She is now 21-15 in 2011 as she enters the Cincinnati quarterfinals.

The 10-time titlist will face the ninth seed Andrea Petkovic, who upset the Wimbledon champion and sixth seed Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 42 minutes with 82 total points out of 149 available, next.

Sixteenth seed Peng Shuai made it to the quarterfinals of the required-WTA-premier event after defeating Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-2 with six aces while her opponent was crippled with five double faults.

The Chinese player's best results on the hard courts was when she made it to the quarterfinals of Indian Wells where she lost to Maria Sharapova in three sets. She played well during the clay court season making it to the finals in Brussels where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki.

Depending on the results of the last match of the night, the World No. 15will give either Jelena Jankovic or Francesca Schiavone  a hard time. She owns a great winning record this season at 48-15 wins to losses.


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