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Mauresmo, Sharapova Reach Rome Semifinals

Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France and world number two Maria Sharapova of Russia have reached the semifinals of the Italian Masters clay-court tennis tournament in Rome.

Mauresmo, the second seed, scored a straight-set win over Spanish veteran Conchita Martinez, 6-1, 6-2.

In the final four, Mauresmo takes on Russian Vera Zvonareva. The sixth-seeded Russian defeated Italy's Francesca Schiavone in straight sets, 7-5, 7-6.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova of Russia took just 63 minutes to beat countrywoman Elena Bovina, 6-2, 6-2.

In Saturday's semifinals, Sharapova takes on eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, a straight-set winner over Russian Evgenia Linetskaya (6-1, 6-0).

Sharapova can take the world number-one ranking if she wins this tournament. The clay-court event is a key warm-up for this month's French Open, which starts May 23rd in Paris.