Maria Sharapova steamrolls Ivanovic

Madrid, November 10:

Maria Sharapova rolled over Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-2 at the Sony Ericsson Championships on Friday and avoided a matchup with defending champion Justine Henin in the semi-finals.

Instead, Ivanovic will face Henin in semi-finals, and Sharapova will play fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

Earlier, Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, the mid-tournament replacement for an injured Serena Williams, beat third-ranked Jelena Jankovic when the Serb retired in the second set because of a virus. Sharapova broke Ivanovic to open their clash and never relented, keeping her opponent on the run with an array of crosscourt winners for her third straight win at the WTA’s season-ending championships.

She hadn’t enjoyed three successive wins since mid-August because of a shoulder problem. The 20-year-old former No 1 didn’t face a break point. First-time qualifier Ivanovic hit only eight winners to Sharapova’s 22, including the forehand pass that clinched it.

Sharapova, who won the title on debut in 2004, and Chakvetadze will meet for the fourth time this year. Sharapova leads 5-0 overall for the loss of only one set. Ivanovic and Henin last met in the French Open final. Henin leads their matchups 2-0.

Bartoli led Jankovic 6-1, 1-0 when the Serb retired. “I have a virus and I’ve been sick for a couple of days,” said Jankovic, who finished 0-3 in her first appearance. “I have trouble breathing and I’m suffering on the court and I can’t play my game.”

The 10th-ranked Bartoli bounced back after becoming the first player in the tournament’s 35-year history to lose 6-0, 6-0 the day before to Henin.