Saturday, March 16, 2013

INDIAN WELLS 2013: Wozniacki-Sharapova Final

The 2013 final of the BNP Paribas Open will feature the 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki and the 2006 champion Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is a 4-time Grand Slam champion while Wozniacki lost the 2009 US Open final to Kim Clijsters. However, the Dane finished the 2010 and 2011 years ranked #1 and has logged a total of 67 weeks at the top of the WTA rankings compared to the Russian's total of 21 weeks.

Head-to-head Sharapova leads the rivalry 4-2 (which is a surprisingly low total of meetings for two players who have been at the upper echelons of women's tennis for so long, although one could argue they have never been at the top at the same time). Interestingly, the two victories Wozniacki has had over Sharapova were straight sets wins on hard courts (2010 US Open Round of 16 and 2011 Indian Wells semifinal). Arguably that was when Sharapova was not at her best while Wozniacki was. More recently, Sharapova is ranked #3 (moving up to #2 on Monday as a result of 2012 Champion Victoria Azarenka's surprising injury withdrawal on Thursday) while Wozniacki is ranked #10.

The two have reached the final in the desert through very different paths. Wozniacki reached her semifinal due to Azarenka's withdrawal while Angelique Kerber reached hers when Samantha Stosur also withdrew. The semifinal with Kerber was another example of Wozniacki's tenacity. Kerber outplayed her for about 80 minutes, and was up a set and a break (6-2 2-0) when things started going wrong. Eventually, Wozniacki was able to break-back and eventually won the second set as the German lefty became more and more frustrated. This frustration allowed Wozniacki to run up a 4-1 lead in the final set when suddenly there was another dramatic turn in the match. Kerber was able to produce a run of her own and evened the match at 4-all. However, after a couple holds of serve Wozniacki was able to break Kerber and win the match. In the other semifinal, Sharapova was able to overpower her countrywoman Maria Kirilenko 6-4 6-3.

Indian Wells is a slow hard court, which is an advantage for Wozniacki, who has beaten Sharapova on this court before, but there's in a match-up between offense and defense, fire-power and counter-punching, I tend to go with the person who is dictating play, which in this case will be Sharapova. I would not be surprised if the match goes 3 sets, but I expect Sharapova to win her 2nd Indian Wells title on Sunday.

MadProfessah prediction: Sharapova.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin