May 12, 2012 / 10:52 AM / 6 years ago

Tennis-Azarenka cruises past Radwanska into Madrid final

MADRID, May 12 (Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka took a step closer to a fifth title of 2012 when she dispatched Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-4 to reach the final of the Madrid Open on Saturday.

The Belarussian world number one, who has now beaten third-ranked Pole Radwanska six times in six meetings this year, battered 29 winners on the blue clay of the Manolo Santana show court, each accompanied by a trademark shriek of effort.

The Australian Open champion will meet American former number one Serena Williams, currently ranked ninth, or Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka in Sunday’s final as she seeks to improve on her runners-up finish to Petra Kvitova in last year’s edition of the premier event in the Spanish capital.

Azarenka has already netted more than $4 million in prize money this year and her only two defeats in 36 matches were to Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the last eight in Miami and Maria Sharapova of Russia in the Stuttgart final.

On a muggy morning in Madrid, only a handful of spectators had turned out to watch the match in the futuristic Caja Magica (Magic Box) arena, which started around 0900 GMT.

Williams, who beat second-ranked Sharapova in the quarter-finals on Friday, plays Hradecka in the second match of the day. (Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by John O‘Brien)

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