Belarus Aryna Sabalenka returns the ball to Greece s Maria Sakkari during their 2023 WTA Tour Madrid Open tennis tournament singles semi-final match at Caja Magica in Madrid on May 4, 2023. Photo: AFP
The world number two turns 25 on Friday and the Belarusian celebrated in style by breezing past Greek world number nine Maria Sakkari, 6-4, 6-1.
Sabalenka, the 2021 champion in Madrid, will face either world number one Iga Swiatek or 13th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova in Saturday's championship match.
Reigning Australian Open champion Sabalenka will be chasing a fifth WTA 1000 title, a 13th career title overall and third in 2023.
On Thursday, she took her head-to-head record over Sakkari to 6-3.
From 3-3 in the opening set, Sabalenka won nine of the last 11 games including the last five.
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