Serena Williams will face the unexpected challenge of Lucie Hradecka in the semi-finals of the 2012 Mutua Madrid OpenYou can watch and bet on Williams v Hradecka live for free at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Serena Williams has expressed a fair amount of displeasure about her performances this week, but she’s defeated everyone put in front of her, including big names such as Caroline Wozniacki. She added Maria Sharapova to this list on Friday with an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 thrashing of the world No. 2. Sharapova was entering this tournament off of the back of a title success in Stuttgart, making the American’s one-sided win all the more impressive.
“Playing Maria you have to be really ready because she does everything really well,” remarked Williams in a post-match interview. “I felt relaxed out there, and when I play relaxed I play better. And for some strange reason, it's sometimes easier to be relaxed in the later stages of tournaments, and not be so uptight. I don't know the reason. I feel like I'm getting better and I just want to continue to do that.”
Next up for Williams is Lucie Hradecka, who continued her surprise run here with a crowd-pleasing 7-6(8), 7-6(6) success against Samantha Stosur. The contest was arguably the most exciting of the tournament so far.
“I was concentrating on my serve today, then just trying to play my best after that,” said Hradecka. Her efforts paid off. Neither her nor Stosur dropped serve all day. “It's an amazing feeling. I've never had this feeling from my singles before - I had a similar feeling winning the French Open last year in doubles, but it's different in singles because you're alone on the court.”
“When the last point was over and I won, I looked at my coach and smiled, and I think the smile will last all evening, maybe even until tomorrow morning.”
Ahead of the semi-finals, Williams has a 1-0 head to head record against Hradecka having beaten her last year in Cincinnati. The former world No. 1 had been 6-3, 5-1 up, but was forced into a tie-breaker before leaving the court with a 6-3, 7-6(5) success.
“I was up and didn't close it out,” remarked Williams, reflecting on that contest. “She started playing better and I was struggling. I don't know what happened.”