Sharapova, Kvitova set up French Open semifinal

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PARIS (AP) - Whether she’s enjoying a cafe lunch, shopping on the Champs-Élysées or notching another victory on the soft red clay, Maria Sharapova sure enjoys these trips to the French Open.

“What girl doesn’t love Paris?” she said.

Two more wins and she’ll love it even more.

Sharapova moved another step closer to filling in the last piece of the career Grand Slam, defeating Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-3 Wednesday to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Second-seeded Sharapova rolled through her 23rd-seeded opponent in 74 minutes, a much different scene than the three-set win over Klara Zakopalova in the fourth round that took more than 3 hours.

“I’m happy with the way I improved in this match,” Sharapova said.

Her next opponent will be fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion who ended 142nd-ranked qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova’s upset-filled run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Sharapova leads their all-time series 3-2. Kvitova beat Sharapova in last year’s Wimbledon final, while Sharapova won the most recent match, on clay this year in Stuttgart.

“I hope that I remember something (from Wimbledon) and it will be different on the clay,” Kvitova said.

Kvitova reached the semifinals for the third time over the past four Grand Slams.

Meanwhile, Sharapova made the semifinals at Roland Garros for the third time. She lost at that stage last year and in 2007.

“I love coming back here, love challenging myself to get further every year and I hope this is this year,” she said.

If she wins the tournament, she’ll add the French Open title to her championships at Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. If she makes the final, she is projected to move to No. 1 in the rankings.

Either way, Sharapova will always have a soft spot in her heart for Paris _ a city where she figures she could easily fit in.

“Who wouldn’t want that lifestyle? It’s great to me. I could eat at L’Avenue every single day, have the escargot and the little strawberries they have for dessert, gain like 20 pounds,” she said. “But that’s all right. They walk everywhere and they bike. That would help.”

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