Maria Sharapova secured her place in the final of the WTA Madrid Open for the second consecutive year with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 win over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.
The four-time Grand Slam champion will face Romanian Simona Halep in Sunday’s final as she recorded a hard-fought 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2 victory over fifth seed Petra Kvitova.
Sharapova has slowly begun to hit form in recent weeks on her return to clay conditions after a difficult start to the year and she stormed through the opening set for the loss of just 11 points.
The Russian was dominant again at the start of the second as she raced into a 3-0 lead, but Radwanska battled back to take four straight games and lead 4-3 with a break.
Unfortunately for the third seed, though, she gifted the break straight back and Sharapova also took the next two games to round off victory in little over an hour.
Earlier, Halep booked her place in her first ever final of a mandatory event after outlasting Kvitova after over two-and-a-half hours on court.
After just one break apiece it was Kvitova who edged a first set tie-break and the Czech looked on her way to her first final of the season when she led 3-1 early in the second. Halep responded by taking the next seven games to level at one set all and go an early break ahead in the decider.
The fourth seed then broke the Kvitova serve once more to move ahead 5-2 and served the match out in the next game.
Meanwhile, Kei Nishikori defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4 to make the Madrid Masters semifinals on Friday.
Men: Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal bt Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2; Roberto Bautista Agut bt Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4; David Ferrer bt Ernests Gulbis 7-6(3), 6-3; Kei Nishikori bt Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4.
Women: Semifinals: Simona Halep bt Petra Kvitova 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2; Maria Sharapova bt Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-4. Quarterfinal: Agnieszka Radwanska bt Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.