Sharapova downs Peszak, Likhovtseva in same day

Updated: June 16, 2007, 4:51 PM ET
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Maria Sharapova reached the DFS Classic semifinals by defeating two opponents Saturday -- Tamira Peszak and Elena Likhovtseva.

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With rain postponing her third-round match against Peszak for two days, the top-seeded Sharapova will have to win four matches in two days if she is to capture the title of the grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon.

"Mentally, you have to be ready for a very long day. You have to be ready no matter how many stops there are," Sharapova said. "But it's difficult to come out not having played for two days, cold turkey. I got sloppy in the first match, but I was much better in the second.

"In the second match, I stepped in more. I only wanted to get rhythm out there, which is difficult when you are still not comfortable moving around out there."

Sharapova won 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 against the 16-year-old Peszak, and defeated Likhovtseva 6-2, 6-3.

Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, missed two months earlier this year due to a right shoulder injury and hopes her crowded schedule doesn't aggravate it.

"It will be important to recover physically," she said. "The shoulder was a little bit heavy today, but I hope it will recover."

Sharapova next will play either third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova or fifth-seeded Marion Bartoli, whose match was suspended by darkness after two sets. Hantuchova won the first set 7-5, and Bartoli the second 6-4.

Third-ranked Jelena Jankovic overcame an injured neck to beat Alona Bondarenko 6-4, 6-3 and advance to the semifinals against Mara Sanatangelo, who won 6-2, 7-5 over Li Na.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press