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Rediff.com  » Sports » Madrid Open PHOTOS: Sharapova, Nadal claim final berth

Madrid Open PHOTOS: Sharapova, Nadal claim final berth

Last updated on: May 10, 2014 22:19 IST

Sharapova ousts Radwanska

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Maria Sharapova recovered from a second-set wobble to dispatch third seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday and set up a Madrid Open final clash against rising talent Simona Halep.

Sharapova, a former World No 1 now ranked ninth who has had a poor year by her high standards, has shown glimpses of her dominant best on the clay in the Spanish capital this week with the French Open starting in Paris later this month.

Pole Radwanska, the World No 3, struggled to cope with the Russian's powerful ground strokes as Sharapova, runner-up to Serena Williams in Madrid last year, took a step closer to a 31st career title.

After comfortably winning the opening set and racing into a 3-0 lead in the second, Sharapova had to deal with a spirited Radwanska fightback but prevailed to secure a meeting with Halep, the fourth seed.

The 22-year-old Romanian fought back from a set down to oust fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 6-7(4), 6-3 6-2.

Sharapova's chances of going one better than 2013 were boosted when Williams, the Madrid champion the past two years, withdrew on Friday with a thigh injury.

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Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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'Maria is a champion and she knows how to manage the finals'

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By reaching the final, Halep has already achieved her best result at a WTA premier event as she chases an eighth career title.

A girls singles champion at the French Open in 2008, she also looks to be hitting form on clay ahead of claycourt major.

"I'm very excited that I can play my biggest final tomorrow, I hope that my emotions will be down and I can play," Halep said.

"It was a very tough match today, I couldn't believe that I came back again.

"Tomorrow I expect another very tough match. Maria is a champion and she knows how to manage the finals."

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Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Tags: Halep , Maria , WTA

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Nadal sweeps past Bautista into final

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Rafael Nadal continued his serene progress in pursuit of a second consecutive Madrid Open crown when he swept past Spanish compatriot Roberto Bautista 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to secure a berth in Sunday's final.

The world No 1, chasing a 63rd career title and a 44th on clay, has not been on top form on his favoured surface this year, losing in the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

However, he has shown glimpses of his dominant best in the Spanish capital as he warms up for a tilt at a record-extending ninth French Open title starting at Roland Garros in Paris at the end of the month.

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Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Nadal will be contesting his 90th career final

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Nadal's victory against the unheralded Bautista ended the world number 45's best run at a Masters event and set up a clash with another Spaniard, fifth seed David Ferrer, who beat him in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals, or Japanese 10th seed Kei Nishikori.

Nadal broke his compatriot's serve in the opening game at the Magic Box arena but Bautista fought back to level at 3-3 before immediately losing his serve again.

He looked to have crumbled in the face of a barrage of fierce Nadal drives in the second set but raised his game to break for 4-2.

Nadal, who will be contesting his 90th career final on Sunday, broke his opponent's serve for the fifth time in the ninth game and sealed victory on his first match point with a rasping forehand down the line.

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Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain serves
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Tags: Nadal , Madrid

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