Madrid, Spain – Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will play for the title at the Madrid Open after both won semifinal matches with ease on Saturday.
Williams, the top seed and reigning Madrid champ, battled through a tough first set before rolling in the second to post a 7-5, 6-2 win over Italy's Sara Errani. The second-seeded Sharapova then polished off Serbia's Ana Ivanovic with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph.
Sunday's matchup between the two sluggers will not only be for the prestigious title at the Magic Box, but Sharapova will also dethrone Williams as the No. 1 player in the world with a victory.
Williams, meanwhile, will be trying for her 50th career title on Sunday. She has already won three times this year with titles in Brisbane, Miami and Charleston.
The 15-time Grand Slam champ is 30-2 this year and riding a 16-match winning streak since a loss to Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Qatar Open. Her only other setback came against fellow American Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Sharapova has a pair of titles this year and is coming off a win two weeks ago in Stuttgart. She also won in Indian Wells and reached the final in Miami, dropping a three-set decision against Williams.
The Russian star is just 2-12 lifetime against Williams, including 0-2 this year. In addition to the Miami finale, Williams notched a straight-set win in the Qatar semifinals.
Williams has won 11 straight against Sharapova, including a quarterfinal match at this event last year. Williams also won the only other matchup on clay in the 2008 Charleston quarterfinals.
Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004 when she prevailed in the final of the Tour Championships after also winning earlier that year in the finale at Wimbledon.
Williams needed 93 minutes on Saturday to improve to 5-0 lifetime against Errani. She was down 3-1 in the first set before regrouping.
Sharapova broke Ivanovic's serve five times on Saturday en route to her 500th career match win. She was down 0-2 in the second set before ripping off six of the final seven games, extending her winning streak on clay to 21 straight matches.
The last player to beat Sharapova on clay was Williams in the quarterfinals of this event last year. She went on to win in Rome before capturing the French Open to complete the career Grand Slam.