We’re having a mouth-watering final four at the Shenzhen Open, with three of the top six seeds, along with a five-time Grand Slam champion, set to play in the semifinals. Our photographer Jimmie48 attended all the quarterfinals, so we have first-hand photo reports from the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.
Imperious on serve with a first serve percentage of 76%, world No.1 Simona Halep continued her fine start to the season with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over 19-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in just under an hour.
The Romanian will next face compatriot and doubles partner Irina-Camelia Begu, who was the first to book her spot in tomorrow’s semifinal with a hard-fought 7-5 7-5 victory over Hungarian Timea Babos.
Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova did not let her fans down as she put in a passionate performance on Centre Court to defeat a determined Zarina Diyas 6-3 6-3.
In a first set that was closer than the score reflected, Sharapova had to save three break points and squandered five break opportunities before finally converting her sixth attempt during the sixth game to take the lead and held her next two service games for a one set lead.
The duo exchanged breaks early in the second set before the 30-year-old Sharapova surged ahead with another break point in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and completed the victory with a powerful smash at the net on the first of two match break points in the ninth and final game of the set.
Next up for the Russian is defending champion Katerina Siniakova, who made the semifinals with a powerful 6-2 6-2 win over compatriot Kristyna Pliskova. By facing Sharapova, the sixth-seeded Siniakova is making her dream come true:
It is my dream to play with Sharapova. I was telling my coach this morning I would like to win so I can play with her and now it has come true. I can’t wait to go onto the court and hopefully I will show my best.
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