|Serena Williams (USA)  vs Maria Sharapova (RUS) .|
This (mis)match is a reprise of the recent Madrid final which was won easily by Serena. In fact, the World #1 is on a 30-match winning streak (the longest of her career) and is clearly playing some of the best tennis of her life. If Sharapova couldn't beat Serena on a hard court when up a set and a break in Miami, what chance does she have against her on a clay court?
Another indication of how mismatched the two are in Saturday's final. Last year, Sharapova beat Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 in 90 minutes to with the 2012 Roland Garros title. Serena beat Errani on Thursday in this year's semifinal 6-0 6-1 in almost half the time. She hit 40 winners in 46 minutes. If Serena can do that to one of last year's French Open finalists, what will she do when she faces the other one? Remember, Serena beat down Sharapva 6-0 6-1 in last year's Gold Medal match at the All-England Tennis Club. Mary Joe Fernandez put it well on television yesterday. Just how Sharapova enjoys playing (and beating) Jelena Jankovic (which she did in this year's quarterfinals), Serena enjoys playing and beating her Russian nemesis.
Sharapova hasn't been able to beat Serena since 2004, losing 12 consecutive times, despite holding leads in several of those matches, some of which have been in late stages of Grand Slams as well. Let me repeat that. In 9 years the two have played a dozen times and Serena has won every single time. In fact, Sharapova has won just three sets in that time, although one of those sets occurred this year in Miami. But even in that match, Serena ended up winning the last 9 games, stuffing a bagel down Maria's throat.
The two have met in 7 finals, with Serena winning 5 of them and they have played 4 times in grand slams and Serena lead 3-1. Serena is playing in her 20th major final and sports a 15-4 record. Only Sharapova, Samantha Stosur and her sister Venus Williams (3 times) have beaten her at the stage of a slam. Sharapova has a much more pedestrian 4-3 record in the 7 major finals she has played in.
In today's final I will be surprised if Sharapova get more than 6 games, total, and I most definitely do not expect her to win a set. But, after Serena's surprising loss to Stosur in the 2011 U.S. Open final, you never know what could happen. But, I would bet a lot of money that Serena will be holding up the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for the second time, and will be one step closer to being named the Greatest Of All Time.
Mad Professah's prediction: Serena in 2 sets.