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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Advance To Finals Of Mutua Madrid Open; Sharapova Has Not Beaten Serena Since 2004

By Staff Writer | May 11, 2013 05:08 PM EDT

The No. 1 ranking in women's tennis is on the line after Serena William and Maria Sharapova advanced to the finals of the Mutua Madrid Open. Sharapova dispatched Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2, while Williams defeated Sara Errani of Italy 7-5, 6-2. Whoever wins the championship match between Sharapova and Williams will take over the No. 1 ranking. Williams is currently ranked No. 1 and Sharapova is ranked No. 2.

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Errani, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, used a consistent baseline game to frustrate Williams in the early stages of the match. Errani led 5-4 in the opening set, but Williams ended up winning five consecutive games to reverse the momentum. She closed out the match with a service winner to advance into the final and come within one match of defending her title.

Sharapova moved into her first final of the Mutua Madrid Open after a string of quarterfinal appearances. She never appeared in trouble against Ivanovic, hitting considerably more winners than unforced errors on the day as Ivanovic struggled to find the range on her shots. A backhand set long by Ivanovic wrapped up the contest after just over an hour of play.

Ever since Sharapova beat Williams at Wimbledon and the WTA Championships in 2004, Williams has won every single match they've played since then. At the 2012 London Olympics, Wiliams embarassed Sharapova in the gold medal match with a 6-0, 6-1 victory. In their most recent match in the finals of the Masters event in Miami, Williams won 10 consecutive games to defeat Sharapova in three sets.

Both Williams and Sharapova are scheduled to compete at the joint ATP/WTA event in Rome before heading to Paris to get ready for the French Open, which takes place from May 26-June 9. Sharapova won the French Open last year, while Williams suffered a shock first-round exit that marked the only time she's bowed out in the opening round of a Grand Slam.

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