Maria Sharapova through to first final since return from drugs ban

Maria Sharapova through to first final since return from drugs ban
Sharapova at the US Open on 29 August.

Maria Sharapova remains on course for a first WTA title since returning from a drugs ban after beating Peng Shuai in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Tianjin Open.

The five-time grand slam champion needed just 78 minutes to beat third seed Peng 6-3 6-1 and book a final date with world number 102 Aryna Sabalenka.

Sharapova, a tournament wildcard, made the perfect start by breaking Peng's serve in the first game of the match and closed out the set with another break.

Peng had held her own for much of the opening set but former world number one Sharapova broke early in the second and completed a comfortable win.

Sharapova, who made her comeback in April, has advanced to her first WTA final since May 2015 without dropping a set.

The 30-year-old will meet teenager Sabalenka in Sunday's final after the Belarusian defeated Italy's Sara Errani 6-1 6-3.

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