Sharapova smashes Stosur to move into semis

By Simon Evans

MASON, Ohio (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova marched into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open after crushing Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3 6-2 Friday to set up a last four meeting with fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva.

Sharapova dominated from the start of the 72-minute match against world number 10 Stosur, who lost in last week's Toronto Cup final to Serena Williams.

The Russian, who advanced to her sixth semi-final in 12 tournaments this year, is now projected to return to the top five when the new rankings are released Monday.

"I played a really great match and did many good things today which caused her trouble," Sharapova told reporters.

"I was aggressive; I didn't give her much time to do things that she likes to do when she plays well. I felt like I controlled most of the points."

Sharapova now comes up against a familiar foe in compatriot Zvonareva after the world number two claimed a 6-3 7-6 victory over Slovak Daniela Hantuchova.

In another quarter-final, Germany's Andrea Petkovic defeated Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-1 and will meet either China's Peng Shuai or Serbia's Jelena Jankovic.

(Editing by Larry Fine)