MADRID, Spain - Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams set up the latest blockbuster match-up of the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday, battling past their second round opponents to set up an all-former World No.1 clash.
The No.9-seeded Williams won first, dropping just 12 points in eight service games to record a commanding 62 61 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"I'm serving and moving well. I'm playing pretty good right now," Williams said. "But I still feel I'm doing everything just okay - I really feel I can keep learning from playing on clay. I want to keep working on things and try to do them better.
"I really do love this surface and want to keep winning."
The No.6-seeded Wozniacki had a tougher day at the office, though nowhere near as tough as her first round match. After surviving a three-hour-plus marathon against Ksenia Pervak two days ago, this time she took just an hour and 34 minutes to put away Mona Barthel, squandering double match point at 64 54, 40-15, but finishing off the German rising star in a tie-break, 64 76(2).
"I saw Mona play a few times this year and she's playing well, and I played her in Copenhagen last year, so I knew what I was going up against," Wozniacki said afterwards. "She plays fast and strong, and I knew there wouldn't be a lot of long rallies. I had to serve well, return well, stay in there and just fight."
Wozniacki and Barthel coincidentally share a birthdate: July 11, 1990.
Williams leads Wozniacki in their head-to-head, 3-1, but Wozniacki's win did come in their last meeting, their only meeting this year, in Miami.
An all-unseeded third round clash between Anabel Medina Garrigues and Varvara Lepchenko was also set up. American qualifier Lepchenko won first, rallying from an early break to beat Shahar Peer, 76(2) 64; Medina Garrigues won a two-hour, 18-minute duel with Sorana Cirstea, 61 36 75.
"I'm pretty tired," Lepchenko said. "Everybody's been playing two matches and I've played five now! But it will be really good to get a day off tomorrow."
"It was very difficult to return her serve today, so I had to be focused and wait for my moments," Medina Garrigues said of Cirstea. "At the end of the match I could really feel the support from the crowd. I saw all the people wanting me to do well here at home, so I was just giving it my best at the end of the match.
"Last year here I lost to Safarova 7-6 in the third after having match point, so to win this match 7-5 in the third makes me really happy."
Medina Garrigues beat Lepchenko in their only previous meeting, but that was almost five years ago in the first round of the French Open in 2007.
In the last round, Lepchenko scored the best win of her career, beating World No.11 Francesca Schiavone. The American touted a few things for her rise.
"One, I became a US citizen last year, so now I don't have to worry about getting visas or travelling - I just pick a tournament and I can play. Two, I've changed my training and am working and hitting with some incredible people. Three, I'm older now and more experienced - I know what I'm doing and know what to expect when I go on court. It's a combination of all of those things."