Madrid, May 12
Victoria Azarenka booked her place in the final of the Madrid Masters after stretching her 2012 winning streak over Agnieszka Radwanska to six matches this season with a 6-2, 6-4 victory on Saturday.
World number one Azarenka will now play the winner from the other semi-final featuring ninth seed Serena Williams and Czech surprise semi-finalist Lucie Hradecka, who upset US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the quarter-finals.
Azarenka stands a perfect 6-0 against Polandís Radwanska this year and has lost only a set over 14 played so far in 2012. She leads 11-3 overall in their head-to-head series.
The Belarusian top seed advanced in 79 minutes with 29 winners and six breaks of serve, sealing the win on her second match point with a drop shot that Radwanska could not reach.
Azarenka will be out to prove herself after losing the 2011 final here to Petra Kvitova, two months before the Czech made her major breakthrough by winning Wimbledon.
She has four trophies this season, but will be aiming for her first of the year on clay, having last triumphed on hardcourt at Indian Wells in March.
Djokovic crashes out, vows no return to blue clay
World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Madrid Masters on Friday, vowing never to return to play on the tournamentís controversial blue clay.
Djokovic lost 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to Serbian compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, his quarter-final defeat coming a day after an equally frustrated world number two Rafael Nadal had lost to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
"I want to forget this week as soon as possible and move on to the real clay courts," said the top seed, who beat Nadal a year ago for the trophy.
"They can do what they like, I wonít be here next year if this clay stays."
Nadal also insisted on Thursday that he, too, would not play the Madrid tournament if the blue clay remains in place in 2013.
In stark contrast, third seed and 2009 winner Roger Federer became the only elite survivor after another effortless performance in a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of fifth seed David Ferrer.
The Swiss star will next play Tipsarevic, whom he has beaten four times.
Federer was unwilling to get dragged into the controversy over the court conditions.
"If you want to be a good claycourt player, you must be able to play everywhere," said Federer.
"Madrid has taken a gamble with blue clay. Itís always a little different here because of the altitude and we must sit down with the other players to discuss it.
"It is slippy, thereís no doubt about that but that has been the case here for a few years. They havenít yet found the perfect balance. Our job each day is to adapt to the conditions that we face."
Federer now stands 26-3 on the season, playing for the first time after a six-week break.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion could move to second in the world behind Djokovic should he win the title on Sunday.
Earlier on Friday, tournament supremo Ion Tiriac had been forced to apologise for the anger felt by the players towards the blue surface.
"The court is slippery and I apologise," said the former Davis Cup player.
"We wanted to make sure that we had no player injuries, no ankle problems. As a result, the court experts rolled the base with too much pressure. When the blue sand was put on top it was unable to meld with the base, creating the slippage."