Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova has come another step closer to taking the world number one ranking by reaching the quarterfinals of the German Open tournament in Berlin.
The top-seeded Russian scored a straight-set win over China's Shuai Peng, 6-2, 6-1. Sharapova can take the world number one ranking from American Lindsay Davenport if she wins this tournament.
To reach the semifinals the Russian has to get past former world number one Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, a three-set winner over the Czech Republic's Kveta Peschke (4-6, 6-4, 6-2).
Another former world number one -- Kim Clijsters of Belgium -- pulled out of her third round match against Switzerland's Patty Schnyder because of a knee injury.
The Belgian player is not sure if the injury will keep her out of this month's French Open in Paris.
Meanwhile, second seed and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France scored a straight-set win over countrywoman Virginie Razzano (6-4, 6-2). Mauresmo faces another Russian player, sixth-seeded Nadia Petrova, who beat 2000 French Open champion Mary Pierce of France (6-2, 7-5).
Elena Bovina of Russia reached the final eight with a straight-set win over American Meghann Shaughnessy (6-4, 6-2). Bovina takes on Serbia-Montenegro's Jelena Jankovic, a straight-set winner over Julia Schruff of Germany (6-3, 6-2).
The clay court tournament is one of several key warm-ups for the French Open, which starts May 23 in Paris.