- WTA Tour
Williams wins despite suffering first bagel since 2008
Maria Sharapova eased into the semi-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open with a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Kaia Kanepi, as defending champion Serena Williams recovered from a bagel to also advance.
Whlile seemingly not at her best on Friday, Sharapova nevertheless drew first blood - breaking in the opening game after a long forehand from Kanepi. The Russian took the first set with ease as world No. 51 Kanepi struggled to find a rhythm.
No. 2 seed Sharapova looked set to storm away to victory after breaking serve at the start of the second, but her Estonian opponent hit back after capitalising on a rare moment of indecision from Sharapova.
Kanepi held to edge ahead, but Sharapova hit back in smooth fashion as both players declined to give an inch. Sharapova, however, found the all-important break in the seventh game of the second to before successfully defending her serve following a succession of quality rallies.
Sharapova soon inched within one game of victory, leaving Kanepi serving to stay in the match. Smart court-play from the Russian saw her clatter a volley back past her opponent, but despite her dominance Sharapova was still troubled by occasional errors.
Kanepi held to reduce the deficit, but Sharapova worked her way to three match points before sealing victory with a trademark return to set up a semi-final tie with Ana Ivanovic after the former French Open champion defeated Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1.
Earlier on the Manolo Santana court Williams laboured to a 6-3 0-6 7-5 quarter-final victory over the spirited Anabel Medina Garrigues, recovering from a rare second set bagel to advance.
World No. 1 Williams hit 45 unforced errors on her way to victory, as Garrigues became just the seventh player in history to bagel the 15-time Grand Slam champion as she levelled without reply in the second.
The No. 1 seed had not suffered a love set since the WTA Championships in November 2008, where she was stunned by sister Venus.
Despite not looking entirely comfortable on the Madrid clay this week, Williams took the first set before world No. 63 Garrigues rallied to level, reducing her opponent to a series of war cries in an attempt to psyche herself up.
However, despite falling behind in the decider, Williams dug deep to scrap victory over a motivated Garrigues, setting up a semi-final with Sara Errani after the seventh seed defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-3.