WTA Madrid Open: Maria Sharapova defeats Ana Ivanovic to set up dream final
Maria Sharapova set up a mouthwatering Madrid Open final against Serena Williams after overcoming Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-3.
Last Updated: 12/05/13 1:35pm
The second seed proved too powerful for the Serbian, coming through relatively untroubled after 76 minutes of action for her landmark 500th career win.
Sharapova, who extended her winning streak against former world No 1 Ivanovic to six matches, has now won all 10 sets she has played on Madrid's outdoor red clay court.
After a tight start the Russian began to unleash her powerful ground strokes with some authority towards the end of the first set, culminating in a second break of serve which allowed her to take it 6-4.
Ivanovic resonded by opening up a 2-0 lead in the second but Sharapova roared back and stole her serve twice, sealing the second break with a delicious lob to turn the set around and ease into her fourth successive final.
She now faces a showdown for the number one ranking against the 15-time Grand Slam champion Williams on Sunday, although she hasn't beaten the 31-year-old in nine years.
Sharapova, though, is looking forward to the encounter and took encouragement from their last meeting in Miami earlier this year when she took the opening set.
"I thought I played really well at a good level against her in Miami for the first set and a half," she said afterwards.
"That's not enough obviously, the goal is to keep that level for the whole match and to open up my opportunities, to take my opportunities. This is her third or fourth final in a row, so she's been playing really well.
"Of course it's always tough against her. I haven't had a win against her in a long time, but the great thing is that I'm setting myself up in a position where I can try to change that around.
"Getting to the final is a great achievement here. I haven't been at this stage yet, so, yeah, I am obviously looking forward to it."