Former champions and favorites Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are now just one match away from a meeting in the Madrid final.
After saving three matchpoints in a third round thriller over Victoria Azarenka, Serena upped her win streak to 27 after hammering Spain’s Carla Saurez Navarro 6-1, 6-3.
“I approach everything as I want to do the best that I can,” said Serena who has won her last 50 Premier Mandatory matches. “I’m so determined for every single point. If I lost the match, it’s okay, as long as I know I gave the best I could on that day.
“That’s all I can do. That’s all I can do.”
The World No. 1 now gets 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals.
On grass I give the Czech lefty a chance, but I have no such optimism for that happening on clay.
“Of course playing Serena is a nice challenge,” said Kvitova who is 0-5 against Serena. “It’s been a long time since I played her. She’s a champion, and it’s a really good challenge to see where I am with Grand Slams coming up.”
In the other semi, defending champion Sharapova knocked out fellow former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“This was an important match for me, and also an important match to see where my level was, and how I can withstand that physicality of a match against her,” Sharapova said. “You know she’s going to make you work for it and not just give it to you – that’s what happened in our previous two matches.”
Sharapova meets longtime rival and countryman Svetlana Kuznetsova who is having her best run since her Washington title last summer. The 2-time Slam winner went the distance for the second straight day, this time saving two matchpoints in a win over Lucie Safarova 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(3).
Maria has won eight of 12 from Sveta including their last four. And probably makes it five on Friday. Kuznetsova won the French Open in 2009, Sharapova won it last year.
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