Indian Wells SF Preview

It's Marion against Yanina, and Caroline versus Maria in the semis of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.

Published March 17, 2011 11:50

Indian Wells SF Preview
Caroline Wozniacki

[15] Marion Bartoli (FRA #17) vs. [23] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL #25)
Bartoli leads 2-0
After a standout 2009, Wickmayer lost her trajectory in 2010, when Bartoli scored both of her victories over the Belgian in close two-setters. But Wickmayer, 21, seems to be rediscovering the form that took her to No.12 in the world, and was particularly impressive against Shahar Peer in the last round. At her best, she wields more flash than Bartoli, especially on serve, but the Frenchwoman has been in vintage form herself, and showed plenty of guts to play through a stomach virus for a fine win over Ana Ivanovic on Wednesday. It's likely Wickmayer will try to move Bartoli around as much as possible, to exploit the limitations of her unilateral double-fisted approach, while Bartoli will try to step into the court to cut out the angles and create a few of her own. Will Yanina charge the net, and if she does, will Marion thread the needle? This one's all about execution, pure and simple.

[1] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #1) vs. [16] Maria Sharapova (RUS #18)
Sharapova leads 2-1
What an all-too-rare treat for fans, as the current bright young thing (and last year's Indian Wells runner-up) takes on a predecessor who, it's hard to believe, is still only 23 (and won this title five years ago). Both of Sharapova's wins over Wozniacki were wrought in 2008; Wozniacki turned the table in the round of 16 at last year's US Open. Of the two, Sharapova has negotiated the trickier path to the semis, dropping sets to Anabel Medina Garrigues and Peng Shuai in the quarters - in fact, she's spent nearly three hours longer on court. But, that is probably a good thing for the Russian, who pulled out of three tournaments in February due to illness. Fierce mental fortitude is a given on both sides; the challenge for the former world No.1 is that the current No.1 should have the edge in grueling baseline rallies. But if Sharapova can serve well and mix things up, the three-time Grand Slam champion could turn back the clock.


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