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10 Things To Know: Sharapova Vs Halep

Simona Halep could rise to No.4, the winner will shoot to No.2 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, Dinara Safina's officially retiring - it's a big, big day in Madrid...

Published May 10, 2014 12:15

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MADRID, Spain - With such a huge final set at such a huge event, we thought we'd break from the usual pre-tournament routine and bring you 10 Things To Know during a tournament - for the final of the Mutua Madrid Open featuring two of the WTA's top stars, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova.

1) Sharapova has beaten Halep in straight sets both times they've played - but...
The only two times these two have played each other came in 2012, at Indian Wells (with Sharapova winning, 6-3, 6-4) and Beijing (with Sharapova winning, 7-5, 7-5). But back then it was a much, much different match-up - Sharapova was ranked No.2 both times, and Halep No.50 and No.47, respectively.

2) Halep will rise to a new career-high of No.4 if she wins the title.
The Top 3 on the WTA Rankings were always going to stay the same this week - Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska - but if Halep wins the title, she will go from No.5 to No.4 on Monday, switching spots with Victoria Azarenka. Halep is already the highest-ranked Romanian in WTA history, passing former World No.7 Irina Spirlea earlier this year, and would improve her own record.

3) Sharapova will move up on the rankings no matter how she does in the final.
Sharapova is currently at No.9 on the WTA Rankings and will rise to No.8 if she loses to Halep and to No.7 if she wins the title. Either way, the former World No.1 is going to improve her ranking.

4) The winner will jump to No.3 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard.
Whoever wins between Halep and Sharapova will be No.3 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, the year-long journey to the BNP Paribas WTA Championships Singapore presented by SC Global.

Here's what the top five will look like depending on whoever wins:
Halep Wins: 1-Li, 2-Radwanska, 3-Halep, 4-Cibulkova, 5-Sharapova
Sharapova Wins: 1-Li, 2-Radwanska, 3-Sharapova, 4-Cibulkova, 5-Halep

5) Halep is playing the biggest final of her career.
This is Halep's 11th WTA final. She's been in some big finals before - four Premier finals (going 3-1 in those) as well as Sofia last year (she won). But this is her first Premier Mandatory-level final.

6) Sharapova hasn't lost to anyone on clay except Serena in almost three years.
Since falling to Li in the semifinals of the 2011 French Open, Sharapova is 45-3 on clay courts, her only three losses coming to Serena Williams, and all in straight sets too - in the 2012 Madrid quarterfinals (6-1, 6-3), the 2013 Madrid final (6-1, 6-4) and the 2013 French Open final (6-4, 6-4).

7) Sharapova is 10-0 since her birthday.
The former World No.1 celebrated her 27th birthday on April 19, just before the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, and she hasn't lost a match since (5-0 in Stuttgart and 5-0 so far in Madrid).

8) Dinara Safina is officially retiring from professional tennis on Sunday.
Safina, a three-time Grand Slam finalist and former World No.1, has not played since this very tournament in 2011 - and after three years of inactivity due to a back injury, she will be announcing her retirement from the sport on Finals Day. Click here to tell us your favorite Safina moment.

9) Go to WTA TV developed by Xerox to find out where you can watch the final on TV!

10) We're just about to get started in Rome, too...
The Internazionali BNL d'Italia draw came out Saturday - check it out here! And don't forget to sign up and make your picks for the WTA Draw Challenge in Rome - can you conquer the Eternal City?

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