Sharapova into Memphis semis, Roddick reaches quarters

MEMPHIS: Top seed Maria Sharapova continued her march through the WTA Tour event here, reaching the semi-finals with a straight-sets victory over Elena Baltacha.

Sharapova, ranked 16th in the world, on Thursday defeated her British opponent 6-2, 7-5. She hasn't dropped a set and has lost only 11 games in three matches in her first tournament since falling in the first round of the Australian Open last month.

It was another story for second-seeded American Melanie Oudin, who fell 6-1, 6-3 to Swedish qualifier Sofia Arvidsson.

Arvidsson, ranked 139th, had to hurry from a minor tour event in Midland, Michigan, to play in qualifying and barely made it.

"I didn't arrive until an hour and a half before my qualifying," she said. "I almost didn't make it into the tournament. I've been lucky this week. I've been fighting through my matches. It has been unbelievable."

Sharapova next faces fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova, who rallied to beat third-seeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0).

Arvidsson will face Britain's Anne Keothavong, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Croatian Karolina Sprem.

In men's action, top seeded American Andy Roddick booked a quarter-final berth with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 victory over Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan.

Roddick, pushed to three sets in a first-round win over compatriot James Blake, is the defending champion and reached the quarter-finals for the ninth straight year.

Roddick fired 10 aces against Lu, ranked 114th in the world.

But he had difficulty breaking Lu's serve, missing seven opportunities before gaining a break on a double-fault from the Taiwanese player that gave Roddick a 5-4 lead in the second set.

"It was good," said Roddick, who served out the match with an ace on match point. "But if I want to go further in this tournament I've got to do better on break points. That was really ordinary. The one I ended up getting was because he doubled.

Fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych and eighth-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States also reached the quarter-finals.

Berdych beat American Michael Russell 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, while Querrey beat Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-0.