Miami Day 9 Preview
Published March 27, 2012 11:51
MIAMI, FL, USA - The final two semifinal spots at the Sony Ericsson Open will be decided on Wednesday as Venus Williams takes on Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka puts her unbeaten run on the line against Marion Bartoli.
[WC] Venus Williams (USA #134) vs.  Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 5-1
Venus Williams is making her 13th appearance in Miami this fortnight and it is proving to be anything but unlucky. In her first tournament back after more than six months away from tennis recovering from Sjögren's syndrome, Williams has been dominating the headlines with a string of dramatic three set victories. The latest of these came on Monday night, when she rallied from a set down to defeat a resurgent Ana Ivanovic, 67(4) 62 62.
At 31, Williams remains one of the WTA's quickest players and displayed this against Ivanovic by running down a succession of balls that would have eluded most. This fleetness of foot will stand her in good stead against her next opponent, Agnieszka Radwanska, whose wiley game is sure to keep her on the move. Although Radwanska has lost five of her six matches with Williams - including two in Miami - she will enter their latest encounter full of confidence after an excellent start to 2012, which has featured 23 wins, a title run in Duba and just four losses - all at the hands of Victoria Azarenka.
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs.  Marion Bartoli (FRA #7)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 8-2
At a set and 5-2 down to Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round on Monday, it looked like Victoria Azarenka's unbeaten run was finally about to come to an end. Yet winning is proving to be a difficult habit to break for Azarenka, who somehow turned the match around, eventually triumphing, 16 76(7) 75. Her streak now stands at 26 matches and next up is former Miami semifinalist Marion Bartoli.
Despite her fourth round scare, Azarenka, bidding to become just the third player to do the Indian Wells-Miami double, will fancy her chances of progressing. Her athletic baseline game matches up well against Bartoli's counterpunching style and she has won eight of the pair's 10 matches. However, the last two meetings have been tight affairs - Azarenka winning in Sydney in January and Bartoli at last year's WTA Championships - and the Frenchwoman will be buoyed by her fourth round showing, in which she swatted aside Maria Kirilenko for the loss of just three games.
For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.