STUTTGART, GERMANY - APRIL 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a forehand during her semi final match against Sara Errani of Italy on day six of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Porsche Arena on April 26, 2014 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Stuttgart, Germany – Defending champion Maria Sharapova moved to within one victory of her third straight Stuttgart title after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Italy's Sara Errani in Saturday's semi-final.

Sharapova, who won the title in 2012 and 2013, needed just under an hour to see off clay-court specialist Errani in what was a repeat of the 2012 French Open final which the Russian also won.

Sharapova, 27, raced into a 3-0 lead winning eight of the first 10 points and took the first set in just 27 minutes with some powerful ground strokes.

The Russian picked up where she left off in Friday's 6-4, 6-3

quarter-final win over world-number three Agnieszka Radwanska and converted six of her eight break points against Errani.

The 26-year-old Italian was never allowed to find her rhythm as Sharapova dominated the second set.

The statuesque Russian, who has never won a tournament three times running, will face the winner of the all-Serbian semi-final between former number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. – Sapa-AFP