Aryna Sabalenka moved to within a victory of a second trophy at the Madrid Masters with a 6-4, 6-1 semi-final defeat of Maria Sakkari on Thursday.

The second seed who lifted the title in 2021 over Ash Barty beat the Greek for the sixth time in nine meetings; the last five have come in straight sets.

Sabalenka will wait for a finals opponent as top seed Iga Swiatek faces Kudermetova.

Sabalenka is aiming at a fifth career WTA 1000 title.

The reigning Australian Open champion called her effort over Sakkari “actually my best match of the tournament.

“I started really well. Then Maria came back.

“But mentally I was staying really strong. I knew that she’s going to fight for every point. 

“It didn’t destroy me that she came back. I was still playing, I was still fighting.

“I’m super happy with the level that I played, and especially with my mental game,”

Sabalenka moved through in 85 minutes, breaking four times and losing her own serve once.