Sharapova downs Peszak, Likhovtseva in same day

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

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

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.