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Indian Wells Final Preview

Caroline Wozniacki takes on Maria Sharapova in a battle of former champions at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Sunday.

Published March 16, 2013 11:59

Indian Wells Final Preview
Caroline Wozniacki

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - The final of the BNP Paribas Open pits two former champions and former World No.1s against one another as Maria Sharapova takes on a resurgent Caroline Wozniacki.

Sunday, Final

Stadium 1
[2] Maria Sharapova (RUS #3) vs. [8] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #10)
Head-to-head:
Sharapova leads 4-2
This week Caroline Wozniacki has proven the old adage that form is temporary and class is permanent to be true, negotiating a tricky draw to reach her first Premier Mandatory final in two years. Her last appearance also came in Indian Wells, when she backed up her then-No.1 billing by defeating Marion Bartoli out on the cavernous Stadium court to complete arguably the most prestigious triumph of her career.

One of her victims en route to the title was Maria Sharapova, who she dispatched for the loss of just three games in the semifinals. Since then, Sharapova has not only gained revenge with victories in Rome and Miami, but also, thanks to the most consistent year of her career in 2012, restored herself to the very top of the women's game.

Like Wozniacki, Sharapova has enjoyed past success at the so-called 'fifth major', winning the title in 2006 and finishing runner-up 12 months ago. This time around, despite not quite hitting top form, she is yet to drop a set, overcoming Sara Errani and Maria Kirilenko in the past two rounds.

Wozniacki's passage has been slightly trickier, particularly in the semifinals where she came from a set and a break down to defeat Angelique Kerber. The key to this turnaround, was her ability to take Kerber out of her comfort zone, varying the pace, trajectory and length of her shots on the high-bouncing asphalt.

She will need to be similarly intelligent in her shot selection against Sharapova, who, as displayed in their past two meetings, has the artillery on both wings to pierce even the Dane's famed defenses.

Final Thoughts
Sharapova:
"Caroline and I have always played really tough matches. The last one was back in Miami a year ago - it was a three-setter and could have gone either way. We have a pretty close record against each other and it's always a battle because she makes you hit so many balls and really works every point."

Wozniacki: "Sharapova's a great player. She's playing very aggressively and taking the ball early. For me, it's important to keep her on the move, serve well, return well and try and keep a really high level throughout."

Road To The Final
Maria Sharapova
First Round: bye
Second Round: d. Francesca Schiavone, 62 61 (1:02)
Third Round: d. Carla Suárez Navarro, 75 63 (1:40)
Fourth Round: d. Lara Arruabarrena, 75 60 (1:18)
Quarterfinals: d. Sara Errani, 76(6) 62 (2:01)
Semifinals: d. Maria Kirilenko, 64 63 (1:42)

Caroline Wozniacki
First Round: bye
Second Round: d. Alizé Cornet, 64 36 63 (2:35)
Third Round: d. Elena Vesnina, 62 61 (1:15)
Fourth Round: d. Nadia Petrova, 76(3) 63 (1:51)
Quarterfinals: d. Victoria Azarenka, w/o
Semifinals: d. Angelique Kerber, 26 64 75 (2:32)

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