Williams, Azarenka win Madrid Open semis

May 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM
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MADRID, May 12 (UPI) -- Serena Williams of the United States downed Lucie Hradecka Saturday to clinch a berth in the finals of the Madrid Open against top-seeded Victoria Azarenka.

Williams, the No. 9 seed, battled in the first set but then cruised to a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 win over her Czech opponent to set up a finals match against Azarenka of Belarus, the current world No. 1.

Williams couldn't convert a pair of set points in the first set; however, she won the tiebreaker and then had little difficulty in the second set. The win was the 12th of the year on clay for Williams.

Williams will face a formidable opponent Sunday. Azarenka, the top seed in the French Open tuneup, ousted Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska Saturday 6-2, 6-4 and will be seeking her sixth championship of the year.

Azarenka won her first Grand Slam at this year's Australian Open and was runner-up at Madrid last year. Her only defeats this year came at the hands of top-tier opponents Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli.

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