Sharapova beats Diyas 6-3, 6-3 while Svitolina advances in Australia after her opponent Johanna Konta retired with a hip injury. ersistent rain washed out an entire day's play at the Auckland Classic
Sharapova eases into Shenzhen semi-finals, Svitolina makes last four in Brisbane
Russian former world No 1 Maria Sharapova marched into the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open on Thursday with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory over Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
Sharapova, who has worked her way up to 59 in the world rankings since her return from a doping ban last year, will face either of the Czech pair Kristyna Pliskova or Katerina Siniakova in the last four in southern China.
Sharapova, 30, who is unseeded in the tournament that serves as a build-up to the Australian Open, is embarking on her first full season since returning from a 15-month drugs ban in April.
The five-time grand slam winner was never really in trouble against Diyas, who is 66 in the world, and joins Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the Shenzhen semis.
Elina Svitolina entered the Brisbane International semi-finals after her opponent Johanna Konta retired with a hip injury during the third set of the quarter-final contest on Thursday.
World No 9 Konta, who had made slow starts in her previous two matches at the Pat Rafter Arena, claimed the first set 6-1 but lost momentum in the next as Svitolina grew in confidence to level the contest at 1-1 after a tiebreak.
The Briton called for an injury timeout to treat her right hip ahead of the decider but was unable to continue despite holding serve for two games to hand Svitolina victory.
"I don't feel too comfortable saying really too much because, actually, I don't know yet until tomorrow morning," Konta said after the match. "Hopefully it's nothing more than a low-grade strain and more muscle spasm more than anything."
Third seed Svitolina next plays the winner of the clash between defending champion Karolina Pliskova and 2012 winner Kaia Kanepi.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich came from behind to dump out France's Alize Cornet 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova plays Aleksandra Krunic in the other quarter-final.
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Persistent rain washed out an entire day's play at the Auckland Classic on Thursday with more showers predicted to affect Friday's packed schedule.
Czech Republic's third seed Barbora Strycova will square off against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei in the first quarter-final clash on Friday while Julia Goerges plays Polona Hercog in the revised schedule.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki meets American wild-card entry Sofia Kenin While fourth seed Agnieszka Radwasnka faces American Sachia Vickery in the other quarter-final matches.
The semi-final matches have been scheduled for the evening but if rain affects Friday's schedule, the organisers could schedule the semi-finals and final on Saturday.
"We've done it before," tournament director Karl Budge was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald's website.
"There's been times where three matches have been played on a day as well. We've just got to hope the tennis gods start being kind to us."