Sharapova marches into final

Maria Sharapova, the Wimbledon women's champion, advanced to the Japan Open final in Tokyo yesterday with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn.

Sharapova dropped the first two games in the first set but quickly recovered to win the next six and overpower Tanasugarn at Ariake Colosseum.

"I got off to a slow start. I didn't have a proper warm-up and she broke my serve right away," said the 17-year-old Russian, who won last week's Korea Open. "I made a double fault, but started to serve better as the match went on and was able to return well, and that was the key," she added.

Sharapova will face American Mashona Washington in today's final. Washington posted a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over the seventh seed Klara Koukalova, of the Czech Republic.

Lleyton Hewitt, the top seed, defeated France's Cyril Saulnier 7-5, 6-1 to set up a men's semi-final with the fifth-seeded Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic, who beat Thailand's Paradorn Srichapan 6-4, 6-4.

Hewitt, who won the Japan Open in 2001, had his hands full in the first set, but took control in the second when he capitalised on two double-faults to break Saulnier twice.

Saulnier, who defeated Sweden's Thomas Johansson in the third round, looked tired in the second set and was unable to keep up with the Australian. "It took me a few games to get on to his serve," said Hewitt. "As the match went on, I was able to put pressure on him and the double-faults started to come."

Saulnier, who hit four aces in the first set, double-faulted in the fourth game of the second set when Hewitt took a 3-1 lead. He double-faulted again in the sixth game before Hewitt won the match with his ninth ace.

In other men's matches, unseeded Bohdan Ulihrach, of the Czech Republic, defeated Germany's Bjorn Phau 7-5, 6-4 and will take on American Taylor Dent in the other semi-final. Dent, seeded seventh, was a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 winner over Gilles Müller of Luxembourg.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence