Madrid: World number five Victoria Azarenka ended Julia Goerges`s fine run on clay to claim a place in the final of the Madrid Open when she swept past the unseeded German 6-4 6-2 on Saturday.
With torrential rain beating down on the Spanish capital and the sliding roof closed on the main court at the Magic Box stadium, Azarenka had too much aggression and power for the 27th-ranked German, winner in Stuttgart last month.
The Belarusian, who won back-to-back titles this year in Miami and Marbella, claimed one break of serve in the first set and two in the second and will play Petra Kvitova in Sunday`s title match.
Czech 16th seed Kvitova upset an erratic Li Na of China 6-3 6-1 in Saturday`s second semi-final which was played out in front of thousands of empty seats in the futuristic, metallic-silver 12,500-capacity stadium.
Azarenka, who plays in the doubles final later on Saturday, is projected to rise to number four when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday and looks to be hitting a purple patch of form in time for the French Open later this month.
Speed had been the key to her victory over Goerges, against whom she was a set up in the second round in Stuttgart before being forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury, Azarenka said at a news conference.
"I have to be the one dominating the game and not her because she has really big shots and when she goes for it it`s tough to see where she`s going and it comes really fast," the 21-year-old said.
"The most important thing was for me to take time away from her," she added.
Big-serving Goerges beat world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the Stuttgart final and followed up by knocking the Dane out in the third round in Madrid on Thursday.
She will likely join 15th-ranked compatriot Andrea Petkovic in the top 20 following her run to the last four in Madrid, the first time two German women have ranked among the 20 best in the world since January 1999.
"Honestly I have to say well done to Vika. She is a great player and deserved to win," Goerges, who will compete in Rome next week, told a news conference.
"Even though my battery was empty I still had chances to take the first set. That was important for me to see."
"Probably on Monday I will be in the top 20 for the first time and I want to keep my ranking and stay there for more than one week," she added.
Kvitova, who will break into the top 10 for the first time on Monday, will attempt to add to this year`s titles in Brisbane and Paris on Sunday.
"It`s good being in the top 10 but it`s only a number. I still want to be better," the 21-year-old, who names 18-time grand slam singles champion Martina Navratilova as her childhood inspiration, told a news conference.