Kerber sets up Sharapova clash
Paris - Maria Sharapova will face Angelique Kerber for a place in the WTA Paris Open semi-finals, after the German ninth seed beat Romania's Monica Niculescu 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the last eight on Thursday.
Sharapova, the top seed, booked her place in the quarter-finals with a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 defeat of South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers at the indoor tournament on Wednesday.
With Li Na and Jelena Jankovic having both withdrawn through injury, the Russian's biggest challenge is likely to come from French second seed Marion Bartoli, who tackles Croatian Petra Martic later on Thursday.
A semi-finalist at last year's French Open, Bartoli is the last Frenchwoman left in the draw after Pauline Parmentier lost 6-3, 6-0 to 21-year-old German qualifier Mona Barthel on Thursday.
Should Bartoli overcome Martic, she will face Italian seventh seed Roberta Vinci, who overcame a second-set slump to defeat American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.