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Sharapova, Halep to meet in Madrid final

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova sailed into the final of the Madrid Open with a 6-1 6-4 victory over third seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.

The Russian world number nine is rediscovering her best form as she continues her recovery from a shoulder problem that kept her out for four months last year, and will now meet Romania's Simona Halep for the WTA Premier clay-court event crown on Sunday.

Sharapova claimed her third consecutive Stuttgart Grand Prix title last month and is on course to lay her hands on the trophy in the Spanish capital following her victory over the higher-ranked Pole Radwanska.

Radwanska made a dismal start to the encounter and failed win a single game on her own serve in the opening set.

Despite breaking her opponent in the fourth game, Radwanska was posing little threat to Sharapova and was a set down in less than 25 minutes.

The second set was a more even affair and, despite going a break up, Sharapova's lead looked to be slipping away as she lost two games on her own serve.

However, the four-time grand slam champion bounced back to claim the last three games and book her place in the final.

Halep - the highest-ranked Romanian in WTA history - had to come from behind to beat Petra Kvitova 6-7 (7-4) 6-3 6-2 and earn her right to compete for the trophy.

Kvitova, who received a bye in the quarter-finals due to Serena Williams' withdrawal through injury, edged the tie-break following a tight first set, before Halep bounced back from losing the opening game of the second set by registering two breaks of her own to level matters.

Fifth seed Kvitova failed to produce a similar recovery when she lost the first game of the final set, as Halep successfully clung on for a final berth.

 

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