Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 KEY BISCAYNE: Serena-Sharapova, Cibulkova-Li semifinals

The semifinals of the Sony Open Tennis tournament in Key Biscayne are set and they are too corkers. A reprise of last year's final between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova is the first semifinal, to be followed by a reprise of this year's first major final of the year between Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova.

Although the match-ups sound interesting on paper the previous results in these rivalries have really been quite one-sided. For example, Li Na has never lost to Cibulkova despite playing the high-energy, diminutive Slovak six times, and beat her again last week in Indian Wells, although this time it was a tough 3-setter. Sharapov and Serena have meet nearly 3 times more often, but Serena leads her Russian rival 15-2 head-to-head and has not lost to the 4-time major champion since 2004(!), nearly a decade of unparalleled dominance of a fellow champion. Last year's match up at this tournament showed a Sharapova who was moving better and seemed determined to make the eventual breakthrough, but after going up a set and a break, Serena roared back and won the last 10 games to win the match and earn her 6th title in what she considers her hometown tournament. I still think at some point Sharapova will find Serena on a bad day and earn another win, but I don't think that day is today.

MadProfessah's pick: Serena-Li final.

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