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Indian Wells Day 10 Preview

The BNP Paribas Open semifinal slate will feature a battle of Russian stars and a showdown between Top 10 players.

Published March 14, 2013 11:21

Indian Wells Day 10 Preview
Maria Sharapova

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - BNP Paribas Open semifinal action will see Maria Sharapova take on fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in arguably the biggest match of Kirilenko's life and Angelique Kerber square off with Caroline Wozniacki in a Top 10 duel.

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Friday, Semifinals
Stadium 1
[2] Maria Sharapova (RUS #3) vs. [13] Maria Kirilenko (RUS #15)
Head to head:
Sharapova leads 4-2
If Maria Sharapova wants to make the final here, it would be in her best interest to not let her clash with Maria Kirilenko go three sets. En route to the title in Pattaya City last month, Kirilenko won two three-setters, and all four of her matches in Indian Wells have been extended to three sets. She has come through each time, making her 6-0 on the season in three-setters. Most recently, she overcame World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round and World No.7 Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals, making this the first time in her career she has beaten two Top 10 players at the same tournament.

All that being said, Sharapova won both of her encounters with Kirilenko last year, including a three-setter in the Indian Wells quarterfinals. And Kirilenko will be feeling the pressure of playing her biggest WTA semifinal in terms of points and prize money at stake. This will be Sharapova's third straight Indian Wells semifinal, having been a semifinalist in 2011 and runner-up in 2012. She has not dropped a set in this staging, though she has been pushed in her last two matches. No matter who wins, a Russian will make the final here for the sixth time in the last eight years.

[4] Angelique Kerber (GER #6) vs. [8] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #10)
Head to head:
Kerber leads 3-2
Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki will both have to deal with the odd circumstance of not having taken the court for their quarterfinal matches because of injuries to their opponents. In fact, Kerber has spent just three hours, 49 minutes on court all tournament - least of the semifinalists. On top of that, she lost her opener at her last two events in Doha and Dubai, so is surely desperate for court time. Nevertheless, she should be confident going into her showdown with her first Top 30 opponent all tournament. She has won three straight against Wozniacki, though the last one was a tight three-setter in Beijing last October.

Kerber is into the semifinals here for the second straight year and is seeking to become the first German finalist at Indian Wells since Steffi Graf in 1999. Wozniacki's history here is highlighted by a title in 2011 and runner-up showing in 2010. She was in especially good form in her last match where she did take the court, beating Nadia Petrova in straight sets in the fourth round.

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