Tennis-Sharapova closes in on return trip to Miami final

MIAMI, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:48pm GMT

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MIAMI, March 25 (Reuters) - Five-time runner-up Maria Sharapova closed in on a return trip to the Miami final by taming eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 7-5 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the semis of the Sony Open.

With the victory Sharapova, who lost in the final last year to Serena Williams, sets up a possible semi-final showdown with the world number one.

Williams, a six-time winner on the Miami hardcourts, takes on fifth-seeded German Angelique Kerber in another quarter-final clash later on Tuesday.

Sharapova, who has come up short in the Miami final each of the last three years, dropped her opening serve to Kvitova but that would be the only time the entire match.

The fourth-seeded Russian took control with a break to get back on level terms at 4-4 and then again to close out the first set. Sharapova then dominated the second set, storming through the first five games before a reeling Kvitova managed to hold her serve. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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