(Reuters) – Maria Sharapova swatted aside Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour at the Tianjin Open on Friday to reach her second semi-final since returning from a 15-month doping ban.
Sharapova was broken in the first game but fought back to draw level before going on to take the first set with a hold to love.
The former world number one, targeting a first title since returning to the tour in April, raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set as an error-prone Voegele struggled on serve.
Voegele handed Sharapova three match points when she made her eighth double fault of the contest while trailing 5-1.
The Russian sealed the match with a forehand winner and will meet defending champion Peng Shuai on Saturday.
Peng eased past Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1 while Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus beat local hope Zhu Lin 6-3 6-4 in another quarter-final and awaits the winner of the match between Christina McHale and Sara Errani.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)