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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Sharapova edges nearer to summit
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova moved a step closer to clinching the world number one spot when she reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open in Rome.

The top seed, who will head the world rankings if she wins the Rome event, brushed aside Elena Bovina 6-2 6-2.

In the first clay-court semi-final of her career, Sharapova will play eighth seed Patty Schnyder.

Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo also progressed with a 6-1 6-2 win over four-time winner Conchita Martinez.

"The first three games were very important," said Mauresmo, who won the first set in just 28 minutes.

"I won them and that put me in a strong position. She had some opportunities, but I made sure she didn't take them."

Mauresmo will now face sixth seed Vera Zvonareva after her 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win over Italy's Francesca Schiavone.

Zvonareva lost to Mauresmo in the Rome semi-finals last year and the Russian said: "It's always good to earn a chance to turn things around.

"We usually have tough matches - we've been to three sets a couple of times. I'll have to give it my best."

Schnyder reached the last four after her 6-1 6-0 thrashing of Russia's Evgenia Linetskaya.

Sharapova reaches Rome quarters
12 May 05 |  Tennis

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