Azarenka, Serena to meet for Madrid crown

6:55 AM, May 12, 2012   |    comments
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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 victory.

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 Sunday's final.

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 month.

The 2012 Madrid Open winner will earn $830,500.

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