Maria Sharapova swatted aside Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour at the Tianjin Open on Friday to reach her second semi-final since returning from a 15-month doping ban.Sharapova was broken in the first game but fought back to draw level before going on to take the first set with a hold to love.The former world number one, targeting a first title since returning to the tour in April, raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set as an error-prone Voegele struggled on serve.Voegele handed Sharapova three match points when she made her eighth double fault of the contest while trailing 5-1.The Russian sealed the match with a forehand winner and will meet defending champion Peng Shuai on Saturday.Peng eased past Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1 while Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus beat local hope Zhu Lin 6-3 6-4 in another quarter-final and awaits the winner of the match between Christina McHale and Sara Errani.
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New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has disposed of a plea alleging arbitrariness in the 2014 polls of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), saying keeping it pending would have a “demoralising effect” on the “positive work” done by the sports body over the years.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the BAI has helped in developing the sport in which Indian players have achieved international accolade.The bench disposed of the plea of former international power-lifter Maj (Dr) Surendra Poonia, who had urged the court to quash the BAI election held on January 25, 2014.It said the plea, which had challenged the appointment of then elected BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta, has become infructuous as he passed away in April. It noted that Himanta Biswa Sarma has succeeded Gupta and is now the President of the BAI.The bench recorded the submission by central government standing counsel Manish Mohan that fresh elections were conducted this year and the next poll for electing the BAI office-bearers were due in 2018.It took note of the BAIs contribution “to the development of the sport of badminton wherein Indian players have achieved international accolades and laurel, that too repeatedly at every level in international tournaments.”It said the pendency of the petition would “certainly have an extremely demoralising effect on … positive work already done and being undertaken by the Association.”Seeking fresh election, the petitioner had claimed that the 2014 poll process was unfair, arbitrary, without any rationale and against the BAI rules and other laws. PTI PPS HMP ARCadvertisement