Maria Sharapova into Tianjin Open semi-final

Maria Sharapova through to first final since returning from drugs ban after beating Peng Shuai in Tianjin Open

Maria Sharapova through to first final since returning from drugs ban after beating Peng Shuai in Tianjin Open

Now ranked 86th after returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova - granted a wildcard in Tianjin - plays unseeded Magda Linette of Poland next.

After the surprising run in Stuttgart, in her very first tournament after the suspension, Sharapova came back into the best four as she comfortably beat Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 winning seven games in a row from 3-3 in the first. Linette, who is ranked 71st in the world, saved the first match point on her serve and then two more on Sharapova's serve before the five-time Grand Slam champion ended the match in 1 hour, 38 minutes.

Sharapova got off to an inauspicious start, as three unforced errors and a double fault handed Voegele a break lead in the opening game of the match.

"We did a really good job of holding serve in the first set", Sharapova said after the match.

She will face either Sara Sorribes Tormo or third seed Peng Shuai next.

Voegele presented Sharapova with three match points when she made her eighth double fault when serving at 5-1 down and the Russian sealed the match with a forehand victor.

Italian Sara Errani downed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4 4-6 6-3, while American Christina McHale accounted for Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-0 6-4.

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