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Azarenka, Sharapova charge into China Open semis

9:27 AM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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Beijing, China (Sports Network) - World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and second seed Maria Sharapova were easy quarterfinal winners Friday at the $4.8 million China Open tennis event.

The Australian Open champion and U.S. Open runner-up Azarenka, of Belarus, blew past Swiss Romina Oprandi 6-2, 6-0 in 55 minutes, while the French Open champion and former No. 1 Sharapova, of Russia, was pasting fifth seed Angelique Kerber 6-0, 3-0 when the German retired due to a right foot injury after 53 minutes of lopsided tennis.

Azarenka's semifinal opponent will be ninth-seeded French slugger Marion Bartoli, while Sharapova will take on seventh-seeded heavy Chinese crowd favorite Li Na.

Li ousted third-seeded and defending Beijing champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-2, while Bartoli held off Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 on the hardcourts at the National Tennis Centre.

The 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska beat German Andrea Petkovic in last year's Beijing finale and was a China Open runner-up in 2009. Radwanska was also a runner-up in Tokyo last week.

On Saturday, Azarenka will face Bartoli for a 12th time on the WTA tour, seeking a ninth win in their lifetime series, while Sharapova is 7-4 all-time versus Li heading into their semi affair. Azarenka and Bartoli have split a pair of meetings this year, while Sharapova is 2-0 against Li in 2012.

The 2012 Beijing titlist will collect $848,000.

The Sports Network

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