Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stuttgart Final: #1 Azarenka v #2 Sharapova

For the third time in 2012, World #1 Victoria Azarenka will face World #2 Maria Sharapova in the final of a WTA Tournament. Sharapova failed to win a set in the first two finals (Melbourne's Australian Open final 6-3 6-0 and Indian Well's BNP Paribas Open final 6-2 6-3) the two have contested, and is unlikely to improve her results by playing Azarenka on clay at the Porsche Grand Prix Open in Stuttgart.
Azarenka now leads their head-to-head 5 to 3.

Azarenka is the hottest player on tour, having only lost once all year, to Marion Bartoli in Key Biscayne 6-3 6-3 and is now 29-1 for 2012 with 4 WTA tour titles. To get to this point, Azarenka had to beat her erstwhile best friend on tour, World #4 Agnieska Radwanska  in the semifinal. Radwanska has now won 28 matches against everyone else on the women's tour this year but has also lost 5 times to Azarenka.

Sharapova snapped World #3 Petra Kvitova's winning streak in indoor matches at 27 matches by defeating the 2011 Wimbledon champion 6-4 7-6(3) after outlasting 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur in a 3-hour slugfest 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 7-5 in the quarterfinal. The Stuttgart tournament featured the Top 4 players in the world in the semifinals.

This is only the second meeting between Sharapova and Azarenka on clay, with Sharapova winning in Rome last year when the Belarussian was forced to retire. That is almost the only way that Sharapova can win tomorrow; clay rewards the player with the best movement (and mental toughness) and although the two are well-matched in mental toughnes, Azarenka is a much better mover in general, and especially on clay, where Sharapova once famously referred to herself as graceful as "a cow on ice."

MadProfessah's prediction: Azarenka.

1 comment:

Carter said...

sorry, Ron, but the grunter romped over Az big time.


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