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Venus and Sharapova into finals in Dubai and Memphis

Venus blasts a return from the baseline on the way to her straight sets win over Shahar Peer.
Venus blasts a return from the baseline on the way to her straight sets win over Shahar Peer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Maria Sharapova reaches final of WTA tournament in Memphis
  • Defending champion Venus Williams into the final of the Dubai Open
  • Williams beats Israeli Shahar Peer and now faces Victoria Azeranka
  • Peer was the first Israeli to compete in the United Arab Emirates
RELATED TOPICS
  • Shahar Peer
  • Dubai
  • Israel
  • Venus Williams
  • Maria Sharapova

(CNN) -- Top seed Maria Sharapova continued her dominant form at the combined WTA/ATP tournament in Memphis with a straight sets 6-4 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova, slowly working her way back to her best after a long-term shoulder injury, made a shock first round exit at the Australian Open, but is on course for her first title of 2010.

The Russian, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament, will play Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson, a 6-4 4-6 6-4 winner over Britain's Anne Keothavong in the earlier semifinal on Friday night.

In the men's event, eighth-seeded Sam Querrey upset top seed and fellow American Andy Roddick 7-5 3-6 6-1 to book reach the semifinals.

It was revenge for Querrey who lost to Roddick in the semifinals in San Jose last week.

In the semifinals he will play Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who enjoyed a 3-6 6-3 7-6 win over fifth seed Tomas Berdych.

Earlier on Friday, defending champion Venus Williams cruised into the final of the Dubai Open as she ended the surprise run of Shahar Peer with a 6-1 6-4 win in the semifinals.

Amid security fears over the appearance of Israeli peer, the match was played on a smaller outside court with restricted access rather than the 5,000 seater capacity center court.

Peer is the first Israeli athlete to compete in the United Arab Emirates and has shrugged off the controversy with a fine run to the last four, but against Williams she found her match.

The five-time Wimbledon champion raced through the first set in only 23 minutes and after encountering spirited late resistance from Peer wrapped up a comfortable win.

It will be a relief for tournament organizers, who faced sanction from the WTA Tour when they refused Peer entry to the event last year, and would have had to put her on the main court had she reached the final.

Williams will now face world number six Victoria Azarenka of the Belarus, who came back from 2-4 down in the second set to complete a 6-3 6-4 win over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.