World No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2 Maria Sharapova are each one win away from a blockbuster meeting to determine the No. 1 ranking next Monday after both won quarterfinals matches on Friday at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain.
Williams had a difficult time against Spanish wildcard Anabel Medina Garrigues, losing the second set 6-0 in a 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 eventual triumph.
“I obviously didn’t do much in the second set, which gave her a lot of confidence to play better,” Williams said. “And then I thought she played really well after that in the third…I’m going to go back to the way I have been playing and being more calm and not making as many unforced errors as I did out there today.”
Williams will on Saturday face No. 7 seed Sara Errani, who eased past Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 6-3.
Sharapova likewise had an easy time with Estonia’s unseeded Kaia Kanepi, winning 6-2, 6-4.
“I was just happy to get past the quarterfinals — I feel like I’ve been stuck there in this tournament,” said Sharapova, who will in the semis meet fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who upset No. 6 seed Angie Kerber 6-3, 6-1. “I faced a really good claycourt player today. A lot of her success has come on clay. I faced her at the French Open last year, where she had really good wins, so I know that she’s capable.”
On the men’s side two Spaniards, along with a Czech and a Swiss (not that Swiss) moved into the semifinals.
No. 5-seeded Rafael Nadal out-grinded fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, the No. 4 seed, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-0, and was joined by wildcard countryman Pablo Andujar, who upset Federer-killer and No. 14 seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5.
“The favorite, of course, is him,” said Andujar on meeting Nadal in the semis. “I do believe I have more options playing in Madrid because it’s a little bit faster. And playing two sets, you cannot tell who’s the worst player. You don’t see it so clearly. It’s true that in two sets the one who’s a little bit inferior has the possibility to give the surprise.”
The two seeded upsets were joined by two more when No. 6 Tomas Berdych upended No. 3 Andy Murray 7-6(3), 6-4, and No. 15 Stan Wawrinka outlasted No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-4.
Murray said that with the low bar he has set, it was a good week.
“This week was better than Monte Carlo, so it’s going in the right direction,” he said. “Tomas is a very good claycourt player, and it was a close match. I had my chances. I think I’m playing okay. Some things I would like to do better, but I did play very well in practice in the buildup to this tournament.”
Saturday’s schedule in Madrid:
MANOLO SANTANA start 10:50 am
 S Williams (USA) vs  S Errani (ITA)
Not Before 1:00 PM
 A Ivanovic (SRB) vs  M Sharapova (RUS)
Not Before 3:30 PM
 R Nadal (ESP) vs [WC] P Andujar (ESP)
Starting at 7:00 PM
 S Wawrinka (SUI) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
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