Published November 20, 2014
Stuttgart, Germany (Sport Network) - The world's top four women each reached the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the top two will play for the title on Sunday after each posted straight-set wins on Saturday.
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska before second-seeded Maria Sharapova topped Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champ, had a streak of 27 straight indoor wins snapped.
Azarenka will try for a fifth title of 2012, having already claimed crowns in Sydney, Qatar and Indian Wells in addition to her first Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open.
The top-ranked native of Belarus opened the campaign with 26 straight wins before dropping a quarterfinal match to Marion Bartoli last month in Miami. This is her first event since that setback.
Radwanska won the title in Miami, mainly because she didn't have to face Azarenka. She lost to Azarenka in the Sydney semifinals, Australian Open quarterfinals, Qatar semis and Indian Wells quarters.
Saturday's defeat dropped Radwanska's match record to 28-5, not including a walkover loss in Malaysia when she withdrew because of injury. Each of her five losses this year have come against Azarenka. The fourth-ranked Radwanska beat Sharapova at the Miami final and also won the title in Dubai.
Sharapova will try for her first title of 2012 on Sunday. In addition to the setback to Radwanska in Miami, she lost to Azarenka in the Australian Open final and again in the title match of Indian Wells. Both of those losses to Azarenka came in straight-set fashion, 6-3, 6-0 in Melbourne and 6-2, 6-3 in the California desert.
Azarenka leads the all-time series, 5-3, with wins in four the last five matchups. Sunday will mark only the second meeting between the two on clay. Sharapova won the first, last year in the Rome quarterfinals when Azarenka had to retire in the second set with a right elbow contusion.
The top four women reached the semifinal of a WTA event for the first time since Wimbledon in 2009.
Sunday's champ will claim $115,000 and a new Porsche sports car.