Sharapova and Pavlyuchenkova reach Open GDF semis

The Associated Press
Sharapova and Pavlyuchenkova reach Open GDF semis
Maria Sharapova of Russia follows through on a shot to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

PARIS (AP) -- Top-seeded Maria Sharapova thrashed eighth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to set up an all-Russian semifinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Open Gaz de France.

Although Sharapova dropped her serve once, the four-time Grand Slam champion broke Flipkens' serve five times to win in little more than an hour.

''We haven't played against each other in quite a bit of time,'' Sharapova said ahead of her match against Pavlyuchenkova. ''She's playing really well this year and had a great win today, so I'm sure she'll be really confident.''

In a more tightly-contested match, Pavlyuchenkova upset fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Both had seven aces and also dropped serve four times each.

''I just tried to stay calm and keep playing my game,'' Pavlyuchenkova said. ''After I lost the first set I was a bit more relaxed even, so it was easier to focus on my game and my technique. I think I had too much emotion in the first set.''

In Saturday's other semifinal, No. 3 Sara Errani of Italy will play France's Alize Cornet.

Errani, last year's losing finalist, had little trouble beating Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, while Cornet needed three hours to get past Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-3.