Maria Sharapova continued her unbeaten streak on clay this year after she rallied past Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open 2014 tournament on Saturday. The Russian tennis superstar faced a tougher challenge in the second set but pulled through 6-1, 6-4. Sharapova reached the final last year but lost to Serena Williams.
“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.
“It’s great to have these results, over No.3 in the world today and yesterday beating Li Na, who is No.2 in the world. These were my goals at the beginning of the season, physically and mentally after a long lay-off, to be able to play this many matches and get to these stages of tournaments. Certainly, it’s nice to be back in the final, playing good tennis, and I have another challenge ahead of me tomorrow.
Radwanska admitted that Sharapova was the better player in the match.
“I couldn’t really do much in the first set,” Radwanska said. “She was hitting the ball very well, very deep. She really pushed me back. In the second set I played better, but she really hit good shots in the important moments.”
Sharapova will next face Simona Halep, ranked fifth in the world, in the final on Sunday. She has a 2-0 head to head series lead over the Romanian. However, their last match was back in 2012 and Halep is a totally different player now.
“Simona is an extremely solid player. She moves well around the court, especially on clay. She gets so many balls back. It will be a physical match. I need to worry about my side of the net and what I do and how I control the points rather than thinking about what she does well.”