Maria Sharapova will make her second semifinal appearance this year at the Tianjin Open after defeating qualifier Stefanie Voegele in the quarterfinals, putting in an extremely solid and consistent performance to prevail in straight sets after just an hour and five minutes. After a slow start to the match, Sharapova was able to immediately rebound from the early deficit and took the win losing just a mere four games in the process, and the former world number one also just conceded four points behind her first serve throughout the encounter.
Sharapova overcomes slow start
For the third consecutive time here in Tianjin, Sharapova won the coin toss and started the match serving. However, the Russian unexpectedly got off to a slow start as she committed a couple of unforced errors to gift Voegele the break of serve in the opening game, taking the early lead.
Nonetheless, Sharapova was able to find her groove immediately, breaking straight back to level the scores, with her forehands looking extremely powerful. The former world number one started to stamp her authority across the court, rattling off four consecutive winners to take the lead for the first time in the match.
Sharapova takes the first set
The underdog was able to remain solid on her serve despite the pressure applied by Sharapova consistently, but Voegele was unable to threaten the Russian’s service games as the five-time Grand Slam champion only lost just one point on serve in the remainder of the set.
Although the Swiss was able to come up with some incredible serves, her groundstrokes were too vulnerable for Sharapova to pounce on, which eventually allowed the wildcard to make the first breakthrough in the eighth game after Voegele threw in an unfortunate double fault on break point. The Russian closed out the match perfectly, serving two powerful aces to claim the first set 6-3 after just 33 minutes.
The Russian marches on
Carrying over the momentum from the first set, Sharapova made the best possible start to the second set as she played with extraordinary confidence and consistency, clinching the first break in the opening game with a drive volley winner. Losing just her sixth point on serve, the Russian easily consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead.
Voegele threatens to mount a comeback but Sharapova stays solid
Voegele started to find the rhythm on her serve, and earned two game points in the third game with her body serves causing many troubles for her opponent. However, two double-faults were enough for Sharapova to fight back and extend her lead as a big return winner gave her a double break lead. For the first time in awhile, Sharapova was finally threatened on her serve with Voegele getting to deuce but unable to find her chances as the Russian remained clutch at the nerviest moments.
The Swiss finally managed to get herself onto the scoreboard with a confidence-boosting service hold, coming from 15-30 down to do so. The hold certainly provided Voegele with the momentum she desperately needed, and she earned her first break point since the opening game of the match.
However, Sharapova was able to quickly regain her composure before hitting a clean winner to fend off the break point, eventually holding serve for a commanding 5-1 lead. The pressure ultimately affected Voegele while serving to stay in the match, throwing in some free errors for Sharapova to take advantage of, and eventually lost the match when the Russian hit a perfect winner at the net.