Serena Williams of the U.S. serves the ball to Lucie Hradecka of Czech Republic during their women's semi-final match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament May 12, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
Williams beat qualifier Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (5), 6-0 on the new blue-clay court after Azarenka ousted fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4.
The ninth-ranked Williams edged the tenacious Czech to have a shot at her second title of the season. Azarenka has already won four tournaments this year.
After an even first set that featured a slew of big serves and netted returns, Williams eventually managed to win the tiebreaker after squandering two set points.
The former No. 1 broke Hradecka's first three service games of the second set to cruise to her 12th consecutive win on clay this season. The 105th-ranked Hradecka had upset defending champion Petra Kvitova and U.S. Open winner Sam Stosur to reach the semifinals.
Azarenka had little trouble beating Radwanska for the sixth straight time.
Azarenka hit a deep return to set up a slam and break her Polish opponent's first service game, and went on to hit 14 winners and held at love to wrap up the first set. The players traded a pair of breaks in the second set before Azarenka, the runner-up last year, won a decisive third break with a crosscourt return.
''I'm really happy. All the top players are here and I'm in the final and looking forward to it,'' said the 22-year-old Belarusian. ''(Radwanska and I) keep meeting each other. I'm glad to win today. The score maybe wasn't so close, but it was a good match.''
In the men's semifinals, Roger Federer will face Janko Tipsarevic, and Tomas Berdych will play Juan Martin del Potro.
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