Serena and Sharapova set for season-ending showdown in Istanbul
17:43 GMT, 27 October 2012
Serena Williams will meet Maria Sharapova in Sunday's final of the WTA Championships after both players secured straight-set wins in Istanbul.
Williams sent out an ominous warning as she stormed into her fifth season-ending final by beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour.
Sharapova was more troubled as she overcame Victoria Azarenka, who confirmed she would finish the year as the top ranked women's player, 6-4, 6-2.
Eyes on the prize: Serena Williams is in her fifth season-ending final
Despite Sharapova's impressive success the No 2 seed is set to go into the final as the underdog after Williams took full advantage of a visibly tired Radwanska.
The Pole was involved in the longest-ever WTA Championship match on Friday when she confirmed her semi-final place in a three hour, 29-minute epic with Sara Errani.
'I probably had an idea she was tired,' Williams, who had a long exchange with Radwanska at the net after the match, told www.wtatennis.com.
'I just told her that it was awesome she played so well and played through another match, after playing a good eight hours. It was really inspiring for me.'
Russia with love: Maria Sharapova stands in Serena's way of glory
Radwanska, 23, admitted she was out on her feet.
'Those last two matches really killed me,' she said. 'Especially that I didn't have the day off, and especially that surface – it's very sticky, so three and a half hours is a lot.
'I really tried today and I really wanted to run, but my legs just didn't. This is the kind of tournament where you have to be fit every match to win.
'I was trying, but Serena played too fast. I couldn't do anything.'
Sharapova, the 2004 winner, had lost her previous two matches with Azarenka but proved too strong despite knowing she could not topple the Belarusian from the top of the year-end rankings.
The Russian will face a tough task in the final, however, with Williams having won her past 12 matches against top-four players.