Thursday, March 29, 2012

KEY BISCAYNE 2012: Venus, Serena, Azarenka Lose!

At the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (Key Biscayne), Victoria Azarenka's 2012 winning streak ended at 26 consecutive matches and 4 titles when she lost to Marion Bartoli of France 6-3 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Bartoli is now World #7 and when she is on, can beat any player on the WTA Tour and proved it on Wednesday, coming back from 1-3 down in the second set to rattle off 5 games and stun the World #1 and defending champion who was struggling mightily (and unsuccessfully) to control her groundstrokes. Azarenka was coming off winning the Indian Wells tournament the week before and the only players on the WTA tour to do the Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double are Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters (who was forced to withdraw with a hip injury which will keep her out of the game for 4 weeks).

Losing within 18 hours of each other were Venus Williams dropping 6-4 6-1 to World #4 Agnieska Radwanska (who is 0-4 against Azarenka in 2012 but 24-0 against the rest of the field) and sister Serena Williams losing 6-4 6-4 to former World #1 Caroline Wozniacki. It was the second time in 7 meetings that Venus had lost to Radwanska and the first time in 3 meetings that Serena had lost to Wozniacki. In fact, when Wozniacki won, Tennis Channel commentator Lindsay Davenport called it "perhaps the biggest win of [her] career" because the Dane has so few victories against the purveyors of Big Babe tennis. Between the two of them, Venus and Serena had won this tournament in Key Biscayne (which is very close to the home they share together in Palm Beach Gardens) a combined 8 times in the last 12 years. Serena has done it 5 times, and Venus thrice.

In the semifinals Wozniacki will face Maria Sharapova (who beat Li Na in the quarterfinals), the one big babe she has actually beaten before (twice). Radwanska will face Bartoli in the other semifinal.

PREDICTION: Radwanska-Sharapova final.

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