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Maria Sharapova wins again, reaches Porsche GP semifinals

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Maria Sharapova won again to move into the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals after beating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-3, 6-4 on Friday.

In her third match following a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova converted five of her six break points.

“I’m really enjoying myself,” she said.

The five-time Grand Slam champion will next face Kristina Mladenovic of France, who overcame Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-2.

Mladenovic ousted two-time defending champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday and is one of several players who has criticized Sharapova for her doping violation, but the Russian said she will not use it as added motivation in their semifinal on Saturday.

“I’m not someone that uses that as part of my comeback,” Sharapova said of comments against her from her peers, adding she prefers her tennis do her talking.

“My results have spoken for everything that I should speak for. And that’s all that matters. The biggest part of my comeback is what’s out on the court and I will leave it at that.”

Kontaveit had only five unforced errors in the first set, but Sharapova broke for 4-3 and won the next two games. The Russian broke early in the second set, too, and then again for 4-2.

Sharapova finished the match with four aces to raise her total for the tournament to 24.

“I didn’t back off, I didn’t back down and those are kind of the moments that I like putting myself into,” said Sharapova, who won this indoor clay event three times from 2012-14.

The former No. 1 entered the Stuttgart event on a wild card after losing her ranking because of the ban.

John Isner advances to Atlanta Open quarterfinals

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ATLANTA — Second-seeded John Isner beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday night in the 6-foot-10 former University of Georgia star’s opening match in the BB&T Atlanta Open.

Coming off a victory Sunday in the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island, Isner is seeking his fourth Atlanta title in five seasons. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the final last year.

Isner set up a quarterfinal match at Atlantic Station against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over sixth-seeded Donald Young. The American has 11 career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.

Third-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Tommy Paul also reached the quarterfinals. Muller beat France’s Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3, and Paul topped Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3.

In the top half of the draw, top-seeded Jack Sock will open play Thursday with a second-round match against Israel’s Dudi Sela.

Top-seeded John Isner wins 3rd Hall of Fame title

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NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.

The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.

“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”

Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.

“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.

“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”