Sharapova cruises into final; Serena pulls out

May 20, 2012, 09:05 IST | AFP

Russian defending champion Maria Sharapova (left) beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 to set up a Rome Masters final against Li Na of China.

Sharapova advanced in 89 minutes against Kerber, whose move into the WTA top-10 on Monday will complete a line-up for 10 different nationalities at the summit of the women’s game.

Li, who will defend her French Open title when the grand slam starts a week from Sunday, reached the title match without hitting a ball in her semi-final as opponent Serena Williams withdrew, claiming back pain but admitting the pullout was really just a precaution. 

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