Wozniacki Too Solid, Downs Sharapova

World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki held her ground to beat Maria Sharapova in the semis, 61 62.

Published March 18, 2011 12:06

Wozniacki Too Solid, Downs Sharapova
Caroline Wozniacki

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Caroline Wozniacki showed why she is No.1 at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night, reaching the final of the $4.5-million event with a 61 62 semifinal defeat of former No.1 Maria Sharapova.

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Sharapova, the No.16 seed this fortnight, came out firing, taking the first two points off of aggressive returns and breaking the No.1-seeded Wozniacki in the opening game; although she stayed the aggressor throughout the match, Sharapova just couldn't keep it up against an in-form Wozniacki, her 41 unforced errors far outbalancing her 19 winners. Wozniacki cruised to victory, 61 62.

"I definitely didn't expect such a score, but I'm very pleased about the way I played and the way I got my tactics to work. I'm also pleased about being in the finals," Wozniacki said. "It was very important for me to play good defense today, because Maria hits the ball hard. But at the same time I couldn't give her many short balls and let her dictate too much, because then she can be very dangerous. It was important to keep hitting the ball deep and making her move.

"Opponents have to play really well to beat me. I'm not going to say the names, because I can lose to a lot of players. But I can also win against them."

Next up for Wozniacki is No.15 seed Marion Bartoli, who beat No.23 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 61 63, her third straight set win in their three meetings.

Wozniacki leads Bartoli in their head-to-head series, 4-2.

"Marion is another player who tries to play very aggressively and take the ball early," Wozniacki said. "She's not going to give me a lot of free points. To be honest though, I haven't thought about the final yet. Right now I'm pleased about today. I'm going to enjoy tomorrow, and we'll see what happens on Sunday."

"Caroline is so consistent. She's not No.1 in the world for nothing - she's not giving you much," Bartoli said about the final. "You really have to earn every single point. I think the key will be to have a high percentage of first serves. When I beat her in Cincinnati last summer I was able to serve really well."

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Sharapova had shown flashes of her best in earlier matches, but her unforced error count was just too high against Wozniacki, who had 22 fewer than her with 19 errors. "That's her strength, and that's what she does best. She grinds her opponents," Sharapova said. "I rushed too many of my shots today. Sometimes I just missed by a few inches, and sometimes I should have been more patient."

Sharapova was already looking forward to Miami next week. "It's great to go and play again next week. I haven't played in Miami in many years. It'll be nice. I would have liked to go farther here, but I have another one next week."

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