Siniakova beats Sharapova to reach Shenzhen Open final
By Wang Meng
Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova ended her eight-match win streak in China, after losing to defending champion Katerina Siniakova 2-6, 6-3, 3-6.
The title holder had an easy time in the opener, confidently taking the first set 6-2. But Sharapova responded in the second set as the Russian secured an early break and consolidated that advantage to win the set 6-3 and level the contest.
The Czech, who beat the US' Alison Riske in last year's Shenzhen Open final, however, was back on top in the deciding set.
Siniakova fired 27 winners and 10 aces in total, while Sharapova struggled with her serve, double faulting five times and losing three serve games. The 30-year-old Sharapova missed last year's tournament due to a doping ban that dated back to a failed test for meldonium at Melbourne Park in 2016.
Siniakova sealed the victory and will look to add the 2018 Shenzhen Open title to her 2017 triumph in China on Saturday. The defending champion will face world No. 1 Simona Halep, who off rounded out a 6-1, 6-4 win in 89 minutes to reach her second career final in Shenzhen.