Miami Day 6 Preview
Published March 24, 2012 11:08
MIAMI, FL, USA - Third round action draws to a close at the Sony Ericsson Open on Sunday, with favorites, comebacks and underdogs all on the menu. In the battle of the wildcards, Venus Williams takes on Aleksandra Wozniak, while a resurgent Ana Ivanovic and the seemingly unstoppable Victoria Azarenka are also on court.
Sunday, Third Round
[WC] Venus Williams (USA #134) vs. [WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN #65)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Three-time Miami champion Venus Williams served notice that she is far from a spent force on Friday night, rolling back the years to defeat World No.3 Petra Kvitova. The victory was the 600th of an illustrious career that for the past six months has been put on hold by the auto-immune disease Sjögren's Syndrome. Next up is fellow wildcard Aleksandra Wozniak, who is in the third round after winning back-to-back WTA main draw matches for the first time in almost two years. In what will be the two players' first meeting, Williams starts as favorite, although, with four career Top 10 wins, Wozniak knows what it takes to upset a more fancied foe.
 Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #19) vs.  Ana Ivanovic (SRB #16)
Head-to-head: Ivanovic leads 4-2
Facing the Williams-Wozniak winner will be either Daniela Hantuchova or Ana Ivanovic, who are scheduled to follow them on Stadium court. After an inconsistent few years, Ivanovic, under the tutelage of new coach Nigel Sears, is starting to show signs of the form that took her to Grand Slam success and the World No.1 ranking four years ago; in Indian Wells she scored wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Marion Bartoli on her way to the semifinals. Hantuchova has lost all three of the pair's previous hardcourt encounters, and if she is to avoid making this four she will need to improve on her scrappy three set win over Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round.
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs. [WC] Heather Watson (GBR #129)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 2-0
In two previous meetings with Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson has managed to pick up just three games. However, after two confidence-boosting victories, the teenager, who has now shaken off the ankle injury that affected her start to 2012, will be confident of a better showing at Crandon Park. Yet, impressive as Watson's line and length from the baseline was against Lucie Safarova on Friday, she will need to raise her game once more to stand any chance of troubling the Belarusian. The last British player to defeat a reigning World No.1 was Sue Barker back in 1979, and Azarenka's unerring power and precision from the baseline will surely ensure that Watson does not threaten this statistic on Sunday.
Also on court…
No.5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska continues her campaign against Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, while Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta, Maria Kirilenko and Dominika Cibulkova are also among those looking to reach the last 16.
For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.