Maria Sharapova outclasses Victoria Azarenka in Rome
Last Updated: 19/05/15 1:59pm
In the battle of the former world No 1's Maria Sharapova beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-2 to secure her place in the last four of the Italian Open.
Sharapova boosted her chances of a third title but first since 2012 in Rome by cruising past the Belarusian.
The third seed will next face 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova who reached the last four of a WTA event for the first time to set up an all-Russian semi-final after defeating fellow-qualifier Christina McHale 6-2 6-4.
Also, Simona Halep crushed Romanian compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1 6-0 in 56 minutes.
The second seed has been unstoppable in Rome, losing only seven games in three matches, and she next meets 10th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro.
The Spaniard eliminated last week's Madrid Open champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-2.
Defending champion Serena Williams pulled out of the competition on Thursday citing a sore right elbow.