Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams recovered from a second-set bagel against clay veteran Anabel Medina Garrigues in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open, only her seventh career loss of a set at love, and in the third set she rebounded from 2-4 and later from two points from defeat at 4-5 15-30 to win 6-3 0-6 7-5. Williams’ opponent in the semis will be seventh seed and claycourt expert Sara Errani, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-3. Never in their four previous meetings had Errani defeated Williams.
Second seed Maria Sharapova is also through to the semifinals, with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Kaia Kanepi, but if she wants to get the number one ranking she’ll have to hang in there and see Serena leave one round earlier than her. Seed No.16 Ana Ivanovic was the last to move into the final four, taking out sixth seed Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1 in a match that lasted just 57 minutes, thus reinforcing her recent 7-5 7-5 win over the higher ranked German in the Fed Cup. The semifinal of Sharapova and Ivanovic will be a rematch of the last month’s indoor clay meeting in the Stuttgart final eight, when Ivanovic lost a three-set marathon and Sharapova went all the way to the title and the Porsche. Sharapova has won the last five matches against Ivanovic, dating back to 2007. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)