Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

National Post | Sports

MADRID — Serena Williams cruised past No. 2 Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 Friday to advance to the Madrid Open semi-finals along with top-ranked Victoria Azarenka.

Williams sealed her seventh straight win over Sharapova with an emphatic slam on the new blue-clay court. Azarenka overcame a shaky start to beat French Open winner Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The ninth-ranked Williams opened strong, hitting six aces and earning two early breaks to take the first set.

[np-related]

Sharapova broke at love to even the score at 2-2 in the second set, but she quickly squandered her break with a costly sixth double-fault to fall behind for good.

Williams, who improved to 11-0 on clay this year, will face either U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur or Czech Lucie Hradecka.

After Azarenka struggled on serve early on, last year’s runner-up found her stride and broke her Chinese opponent’s first two service games of…

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