Miami Saturday: Serena & Maria On Court
Published March 22, 2014 12:11
MIAMI, FL, USA - Six-time Sony Open Tennis champion Serena Williams and five-time Miami finalist Maria Sharapova will look to continue their Miami heroics, while Ana Ivanovic aims to thwart the momentum of Indian Wells winner Flavia Pennetta.
Saturday, Third Round
 Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Caroline Garcia (FRA #74)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 2-0
Serena Williams, whose six titles in Miami makes her one of four players to win the same WTA event at least six times, actually endured a test in kicking off her 2014 Sony Open Tennis campaign on Thursday. She survived three set points in the first set tie-break of her 76(7) 62 defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova, thus improving to 62-7 here. A third round victory over Caroline Garcia would continue her streak of reaching at least the fourth round every year she has played this tournament.
"I don't think I've won any other title six times, let alone seven, so that would be really cool," Williams said. "This tournament is really special to me."
As for Garcia, her second round triumph over World No.28 Klara Zakopalova was the second-best win of her career. The best came just last month in the Acapulco quarterfinals, where she beat No.19 Eugenie Bouchard en route to her first and only WTA semifinal. This will be her third encounter with a World No.1, with the other two also coming against Williams. The Frenchwoman wasn't able to muster more than three games in a set in either case.
 Maria Sharapova (RUS #7) vs.  Lucie Safarova (CZE #27)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 2-1
Maria Sharapova surely welcomed the trip across the country from Indian Wells to Miami, as her BNP Paribas Open title defense ended with a disappointing third round loss at the hands of Camila Giorgi. Her Miami résumé is an impressive one, highlighted by five trips to the final, three of which have come the last three years. Her second round win over Kurumi Nara, in which she staged a mini rally in the second set, was her 30th at this event.
Third round opponent Lucie Safarova is looking for her 18th Top 10 win, though she has lost five straight matches against Top 10 players. A victory would put the Czech into the fourth round here for the first time in nine tries.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #13) vs.  Flavia Pennetta (ITA #12)
Head-to-head: Ivanovic leads 4-0
Flavia Pennetta showed no signs of fatigue after coming to Miami on the heels of her 10th and biggest WTA title in Indian Wells. She recorded a comfortable second round defeat of Olga Govortsova to improve to 16-3 on the year. Though her history here dates all the way back to 2003, Pennetta is still looking to go beyond the third round for the first time. She is riding a wave of confidence but has only taken one set from Ana Ivanovic in their four meetings so far.
After a strong start to her season that saw her win Auckland and reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Ivanovic has failed to win back-to-back matches in her three events since, so will be looking to end that recent trend. She was in superb form in her 61 61 rout of Lauren Davis in her second round match on Thursday.
Also on court...
Tsvetana Pironkova takes on Angelique Kerber in a rematch of January's Sydney final won by Pironkova. Also, qualifiers Donna Vekic and Coco Vandeweghe look to upset seeded opponents Petra Kvitova and Samantha Stosur, respectively.
Find the listings for Saturday's play on the WTA TV developed by Xerox.