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Sharapova to face Halep in Madrid Open final

ESPN staff
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Maria Sharapova is looking to secure back-to-back titles © Getty Images
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Maria Sharapova is into the final of the Madrid Open after the Russian defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-4 on Saturday.

Sharapova, who won in Stuttgart a fortnight ago, won nine of the first 10 games as she dominated the opening set to take it 6-1 and race into a 3-0 lead in the second.

World No.3 Radwanska fought back to take the next four games and move into a 4-3 advantage. However, Sharapova broke her opponent in the eighth game before sealing victory by taking the following two games.

"I started the match off really well and I was doing all the right things," Sharapova said.

"Then she gained a bit of confidence and started going for her shots more. It became a little bit trickier than I wanted in the second set. I was happy that I came back and stepped it up and did the right things to get myself back in a good position in that set."

Sharapova will face Simona Halep in the final after the fourth seed came from a set down to beat former champion Petra Kvitova 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2.

Kvitova, the 2011 winner, was on course for victory after winning a first set tie-break and going 2-0 up in the second against a frustrated Halep.

But Kvitova hit 66 unforced errors and that inconsistency caught up with her as Halep recovered, with the Romanian hitting 22 winners and breaking her Czech opponent four times over the last two sets.

Kvitova, who received a bye to the last four when Serena Williams withdrew, struggled in the final set, looking sapped of energy in a match that lasted two and a half hours in sweltering heat in the Spanish capital.

Simona Halep cools down in the sweltering Madrid conditions © Getty Images
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