Sharapova sinks Clijsters
London - Maria Sharapova powered to a 6-2, 7-5 win over Belgium's Kim Clijsters as the Russian world number three booked an Olympic semi-final clash with compatriot Maria Kirilenko.
Sharapova will play 14th seed Kirilenko for a place in the final at Wimbledon after ending Clijsters' hopes of a medal in her penultimate tournament before retiring for the second and final time after the US Open.
French Open champion Sharapova and former world number one Clijsters have eight Grand Slam titles between them, but both were competing in their first Olympics and they have been relishing every moment of it.
Clijsters had advanced to the quarter-finals without dropping a set, so this was a frustrating way to say farewell to the All England Club, but she could have few complaints after being overpowered by Sharapova on Centre Court.
The 29-year-old made a sloppy start as a double-fault on break point in the opening game gifted Sharapova the lead.
Clijsters broke back to level at 2-2 but Sharapova delivered a ruthless response as she won the next four games, breaking twice, to take the set in stunning style.
When Sharapova landed an early break in the second set, it looked all over for Clijsters.
The Belgian refused to wave the white flag and broke back to level at 3-3, but Sharapova wasn't in the mood to be subdued and one last break at 5-5 was enough to end Clijsters's resistance.
Olympic Games tennis results on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt John Isner (USA x10) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x5) 6-1, 7-5
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP x11) 6-4, 6-1
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG x8) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x15) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x7) 6-4, 7-5
Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) bt Kim Clijsters (BEL) 6-2, 7-5
Serena Williams (USA x4) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x8) 6-0, 6-3
Maria Kirilenko (RUS x14) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x6) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA x1) bt Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (12/10)
Michael Llodra/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) bt Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) 6-4, 6-2
Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Janko Tipsarevic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB x3) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
David Ferrer/Feliciano Lopez (ESP) bt Marin Cilic/Ivan Dodig (CRO) 6-4, 6-4
Maria Kirilenko/Nadia Petrova (RUS x3) bt Peng Shuai/Zheng Jie (CHN) 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4
Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE x4) bt Chuang Chia-Jung/Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-3, 6-4
Serena Williams/Venus Williams (USA) bt Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA x2) 6-1, 6-1