Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will play
for the title at the Madrid Open after both won semifinal matches with ease on
Williams, the top seed and reigning Madrid champ, battled through a tough
first set before rolling in the second to post a 7-5, 6-2 win over Italy's
Sara Errani. The second-seeded Sharapova then polished off Serbia's Ana
Ivanovic with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph.
Sunday's matchup between the two sluggers will not only be for the prestigious
title at the Magic Box, but Sharapova will also dethrone Williams as the No. 1
player in the world with a victory.
Williams, meanwhile, will be trying for her 50th career title on Sunday. She
has already won three times this year with titles in Brisbane, Miami and
The 15-time Grand Slam champ is 30-2 this year and riding a 16-match winning
streak since a loss to Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Qatar Open. Her
only other setback came against fellow American Sloane Stephens in the
quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Sharapova has a pair of titles this year and is coming off a win two weeks ago
in Stuttgart. She also won in Indian Wells and reached the final in Miami,
dropping a three-set decision against Williams.
The Russian star is just 2-12 lifetime against Williams, including 0-2 this
year. In addition to the Miami finale, Williams notched a straight-set win in
the Qatar semifinals.
Williams has won 11 straight against Sharapova, including a quarterfinal match
at this event last year. Williams also won the only other matchup on clay in
the 2008 Charleston quarterfinals.
Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004 when she prevailed in the final of
the Tour Championships after also winning earlier that year in the finale at
Williams needed 93 minutes on Saturday to improve to 5-0 lifetime against
Errani. She was down 3-1 in the first set before regrouping.
Sharapova broke Ivanovic's serve five times on Saturday en route to her 500th
career match win. She was down 0-2 in the second set before ripping off six of
the final seven games, extending her winning streak on clay to 21 straight
The last player to beat Sharapova on clay was Williams in the quarterfinals of
this event last year. She went on to win in Rome before capturing the French
Open to complete the career Grand Slam.
The Sports Network