CINCINNATI -- No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova became the first semifinalist at the 2011 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, defeating No. 10 seed Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2 in 72 minutes.
Stosur had trouble keeping her topspin shots inside the court against Sharapova's flat power, committing 30 unforced errors in the match.
Double faults, which have recently been Sharapova's downfall in big matches, did not affect her until the end of the match, once the result had become clear. She hit her first double fault of the match at 6-3, 3-0, and her second and third when trying to serve out the match (unsuccessfully) at 5-1 in the second set.
Sharapova, the runner-up in Cincinnati in 2010, broke Stosur's powerful serve five times in the match. The win improves Sharapova's record over Stosur to 9-0.
Perhaps because of her uniquely topspin and kick serve-oriented game, Stosur has lopsided head-to-heads against several players, in both directions. She is a career 5-0 against 2011 French Open champion Li Na, whom she beat in her third round match in Cincinnati.
Stosur addressed her tendency toward lopsided head-to-head records in her press conference Thursday.
SBN: You seem to have very varied head to heads with certain players. With certain players you always do well, Li, for example. Is there something about your game that you think makes some players unable to deal with it, ever?
Samantha Stosur: Yeah, I think my game is hopefully tricky for everyone to play against. I guess there are different matchups. Tennis is a funny game, because like you just said, I can have a really good matchup against some people and then terrible against others. So I think that's the thing about tennis that always keeps it interesting. Certain game styles work really well against certain players, and sometimes you just struggle against other players.
Sharapova will face either No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva or Daniela Hantuchova in Saturday's semifinals.
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