Miami Semifinals Preview
Published March 28, 2012 11:48
MIAMI, FL, USA - After Victoria Azarenka and the Williams sisters' defeats in the quarterfinals, the Sony Ericsson Open is guaranteed a first-time champion this year. The four players left are Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska who are all in action on Thursday.
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #6) vs.  Maria Sharapova (RUS #2)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-2
On Tuesday, Caroline Wozniacki produced one of the performances of her career to claim a first win over five-time Miami champion Serena Williams. Her reward for this is a meeting with another formidable hitter, Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki requires a similarly tenacious defensive display - she hit just 13 unforced errors against Williams - to disarm the Russian, who played some of her best tennis of the year during a 63 60 thrashing of Li Na in the quarterfinals.
Sharapova, a three-time runner-up at Crandon Park, has enjoyed an impressive start to 2012, winning 17 matches and reaching the final at the Australian Open and Indian Wells. And the history books suggest that she could be set for another title tilt; every time Sharapova has made it past the fourth round here she has gone on to reach the final. The two have met five times, and while Sharapova has won three of these, the last two on hardcourts have both gone Wozniacki's way.
 Marion Bartoli (FRA #7) vs.  Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads 6-0
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The answer to this paradox was provided on Wednesday night when an inspired Marion Bartoli conjured up a magical display to end Victoria Azarenka's 26-match win streak. For her next trick, the Frenchwoman will attempt to post a first win in seven attempts against Agnieszka Radwanska.
Bartoli's hopes of narrowing the head-to-head record will rest on her ability to dictate rallies with her fierce double-fisted groundstrokes as she did against Azarenka. Radwanska, meanwhile, will look to disrupt her opponent's rhythm by varying the speed and spins of her groundstrokes and the occasional venture to the net. This was a tactic executed to perfection Venus Williams in the last eight and a repeat performance on Thursday could spell a long night for Bartoli.
For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.