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Sharapova moves into Tianjin Open semifinals

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Maria Sharapova through to first final since returning from drugs ban after beating Peng Shuai in Tianjin Open

Maria Sharapova has reached the quarter-finals of the Tianjin Open with a 7-5 6-3 defeat of Poland's Magda Linette.

The first-round match was played on Wednesday after rain wreaked havoc with the schedule.

Sharapova, who received a wild card into the event, has not yet dropped a set this week, and was relatively unbothered during her first meeting with the World No.196.

The Russian tennis player, with 6-3 and 6-1 sets, has risen to semifinals, leaving 2-0 victorious.

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After rain interrupted the opening days of the tournament, Sharapova said: "It's been a long wait for everyone, it hasn't been easy". The Swiss defeated fifth seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-2 6-3.

Home hope Peng thrashed Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1 in their quarter-final while Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus beat local hope Zhu Lin 6-3 6-4 in another quarter-final and awaits the victor of the match between Christina McHale and Sara Errani.

The Pole had made it to the second round of the Tianjin Open following a victory over Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.

Also on Thursday, Lin Zhu cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh, Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka posted a 6-3, 6-3 triumph versus China's Ying-Ying Duan and Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo needed three sets to record a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over China's Yafan Wang.

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