Saturday, October 06, 2012

BEIJING '12: Azarenka-Sharapova, Tsonga-Djokovic

The finals of the China Open are set, with two exciting match-ups that have occurred recently at the latter stages of Grand Slams. On the men's side, World #2 Novak Djokovic will be facing World #5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. The two have previously met in the 2008 Australian Open final, a 2011 Wimbledon semifinal, a 2010 Australian Open quarterfinal, and a 2012 French Open quarterfinal. Djokovic leads their career head-to-head 7-5. However, Tsonga leads 6-3 on hard courts and the two have split the two finals they have contested. I expect this match to be quite close, with Tsonga prevailing in the end.

On the women's side, World #2 Maria Sharapova and World #1 Victoria Azarenka will be meeting for the 5th time in 2012. These two have started to construct one of the most compelling rivalries in women's tennis. The two have met in the 2012 Australian Open final and the semifinals of the 2012 U.S. Open. Both of these high-stakes encounters were won by the younger player. In fact, Azarenka has won three of the four matches the two have played this year so far and leads their career head-to-head 6-4, and 5-2 on hard courts. I expect Azarenka to win this title. Sharapova did well to dismiss Li Na in the semifinals 6-4 6-0 before a highly partisan hometown crowd in Beijing, while Azarenka beat Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-2.

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