Sharapova eases into Shenzhen semifinals

The 30-year-old Sharapovais embarking on her first full season since returning from a 15-month drugs ban in April.

Sharapova has worked her way up to 59 in the world rankings since her return from a doping ban last year.   -  AFP

Russian former world number one Maria Sharapova marched into the semifinals of the Shenzhen Open on Thursday with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory over Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Sharapova, who has worked her way up to 59 in the world rankings since her return from a doping ban last year, will face either of the Czech pair Kristyna Pliskova or Katerina Siniakova in the last four in southern China.

READ: Sharapova reaches first final since doping ban

The 30-year-old Sharapova, who is unseeded in the tournament that serves as a build-up to the Australian Open, is embarking on her first full season since returning from a 15-month drugs ban in April.

READ: This girl is not going anywhere, says true grit Sharapova

The five-time Grand Slam winner was never really in trouble against Diyas, who is 66 in the world, and joins Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the Shenzhen semis.