Shenzhen - Former world number one Maria Sharapova was
dumped out in the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open, losing in three sets to
holder Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic on Friday.
The Russian will return to the top 50 next week with the
Australian Open looming at the end of the month, but she failed to reach her
second final since returning last April after a drugs ban.
Siniakova, the sixth seed, beat the 30-year-old 6-2, 3-6,
6-3 and will face world number one Simona Halep in the final.
Halep cruised into the decider in southern China with a
comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.
Sharapova was banned for 15 months for taking the
performance-enhancing substance meldonium, and has been working her way up the
rankings since returning to action, winning the Tianjin Open in October.