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.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate