Miami Final Preview
Published March 29, 2012 11:59
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4) vs.  Maria Sharapova (RUS #2)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 7-1
What will it take to stop Agnieszka Radwanska in Miami? The No.5 seed has overcome comeback queen Venus Williams, an inspired Marion Bartoli and even a power outage to reach the final without dropping a set. Standing in between her and a second title of the season, though, is Maria Sharapova, a player she has defeated just once in eight encounters.
However, the last time the pair came face to face on a hardcourt was nearly two years ago and since then Radwanska has matured from talented prospect to one of the WTA's leading stars. While she may lack the power of her peers at the top of the rankings, she more than makes up for this with an elegant all-court game, quick hands and a tennis brain good enough to outfox even the hardest of hitters.
And few hit harder than three-time Miami runner-up Sharapova. Something Caroline Wozniacki found out on Thursday when, despite a dogged defensive effort, the Russian proved too hot to handle in their entertaining semifinal. This was her 18th win of an impressive season, highlighted by final appearances at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
For Sharapova to be denied at the final hurdle once again, Radwanska will need to serve well; Sharapova has been averaging five service breaks a match, and should this standard be maintained throughout the final she will be tough to beat. Yet Radwanska is no slouch on the return herself - she broke Williams' fearsome serve six times - and this, allied with an ability to transform defense to attack in an instant and the confidence that comes from a 25-4 start to 2012, ensures she remains a very live underdog.
Road To The Final
First Round: bye
Second Round: d. Madison Keys, 61 61 (1:02)
Third Round: d. Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 61 62 (1:06)
Fourth Round: d. Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco, 63 62 (1:08)
Quarterfinals: d. Venus Williams, 64 61 (1:20)
Semifinals: d. Marion Bartoli, 64 62 (1:45)
First Round: bye
Second Round: d. Shahar Peer, 46 63 63 (2:25)
Third Round: d. Sloane Stephens, 64 62 (1:31)
Fourth Round: d. Ekaterina Makarova, 64 76(3) (2:14)
Quarterfinals: d. Li Na, 63 60 (1:08)
Semifinals: d. Caroline Wozniacki, 46 62 64 (2:35)
For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.