Defending champion Maria Sharapova storms into final in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova beat Italy's Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in semis to reach final in Stuttgart.

Updated: April 26, 2014 22:22 IST
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Stuttgart, Germany: Defending champion Maria Sharapova moved to within one victory of her third straight Stuttgart title after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Italy's Sara Errani in Saturday's semi-final.

Sharapova, who won the title in 2012 and 2013, needed just under an hour to see off clay-court specialist Errani in what was a repeat of the 2012 French Open final which the Russian also won.

"The further you go in the tournament, the harder it gets, and I really wanted to step up and produce a good performance," Sharapova said.

"The first tournament on clay is always tough -- it's important to improve with each match and I think I've done that this week.

"I know how good Sara is on the surface and I was extra ready to perform against her.

"She has a lot of experience and really knows how to play, so I had to take care of things on my side of the net."

Sharapova, 27, raced into a 3-0 lead winning eight of the first 10 points and took the first set in just 27 minutes with some powerful ground strokes.

The Russian picked up where she left off in Friday's 6-4, 6-3 quarter-final win over world-number three Agnieszka Radwanska and converted six of her eight break points against Errani.

The 26-year-old Italian was never allowed to find her rhythm as Sharapova dominated the second set.

The Russian, who has never won a tournament three times running, will face the winner of the all-Serbian semi-final between former number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic in Sunday's final.

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