Azarenka to meet Sharapova in Stuttgart finale|
Stuttgart, Germany (Sport Network) - The world's top four women each reached
the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the top two will play for
the title on Sunday after each posted straight-set wins on Saturday.
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Poland's Agnieszka
Radwanska before second-seeded Maria Sharapova topped Petra Kvitova of the
Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champ, had a
streak of 27 straight indoor wins snapped.
Azarenka will try for a fifth title of 2012, having already claimed crowns in
Sydney, Qatar and Indian Wells in addition to her first Grand Slam
championship at the Australian Open.
The top-ranked native of Belarus opened the campaign with 26 straight wins
before dropping a quarterfinal match to Marion Bartoli last month in Miami.
This is her first event since that setback.
Radwanska won the title in Miami, mainly because she didn't have to face
Azarenka. She lost to Azarenka in the Sydney semifinals, Australian Open
quarterfinals, Qatar semis and Indian Wells quarters.
Saturday's defeat dropped Radwanska's match record to 28-5, not including a
walkover loss in Malaysia when she withdrew because of injury. Each of her
five losses this year have come against Azarenka. The fourth-ranked Radwanska
beat Sharapova at the Miami final and also won the title in Dubai.
Sharapova will try for her first title of 2012 on Sunday. In addition to the
setback to Radwanska in Miami, she lost to Azarenka in the Australian Open
final and again in the title match of Indian Wells. Both of those losses to
Azarenka came in straight-set fashion, 6-3, 6-0 in Melbourne and 6-2, 6-3 in
the California desert.
Azarenka leads the all-time series, 5-3, with wins in four the last five
matchups. Sunday will mark only the second meeting between the two on clay.
Sharapova won the first, last year in the Rome quarterfinals when Azarenka had
to retire in the second set with a right elbow contusion.
The top four women reached the semifinal of a WTA event for the first time
since Wimbledon in 2009.
Sunday's champ will claim $115,000 and a new Porsche sports car.
04/28 15:24:14 ET