Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams were
semifinal winners Saturday and will meet for the title at the Madrid Open.
The top-seeded Azarenka again toppled Agnieszka Radwanska, improving to 6-0
against the Polish star this year with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph, before Williams
plowed through Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0
Azarenka will try for her fifth championship of 2012 and the 13th of her
career. She won her first-ever Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and
also claimed the crowns in Sydney, Doha and Indian Wells.
The current world No. 1's only setbacks came against Marion Bartoli in the
Miami quarterfinals and Maria Sharapova in the Stuttgart finale.
Radwanska had a terrible service game on Saturday. She was broken three times
in each set and managed to win only 7-of-24 points on her second serve.
Saturday marked just the sixth match loss of the season for the third-ranked
Radwanska, each coming against Azarenka. The Belarusian improved to 10-3
lifetime against Radwanska.
Azarenka was the runner-up at this event last year, losing to Petra Kvitova,
who was taken out this week by Hradecka in the second round.
Hradecka hadn't won more than two matches in any tournament this year before
this week's surprising run. She also took out reigning U.S. Open champ
Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals and gave Williams all she could handle in
the first set Saturday before completely falling apart in the second.
Williams squandered a pair of set points in the first set, but eventually won
it in a tiebreaker and thoroughly dominated the second set to earn her 12th
straight win on clay this year.
The 13-time Grand Slam champ and former world No. 1 has already beaten a pair
of former world No. 1s this week, eliminating both Caroline Wozniacki and
Maria Sharapova. She'll take a 6-1 lifetime mark against Azarenka into
Azarenka's lone win in the series came in the 2009 Miami final, a 6-3, 6-1
rout. Williams has since won the last four meetings, dropping just one set in
the process. The two last squared off in the third round of last year's U.S.
Open and Williams prevailed in a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) victory.
Williams, seeded ninth this week, will try for her 41st career title and
second of 2012. She won her last event, capturing the Charleston crown last
The 2012 Madrid Open winner will earn $830,500.
The Sports Network