Caroline Wozniacki (4) v Maria Sharapova (2)
Few would have predicted that Wozniacki would have made the semi-finals having been presented with a killer draw that featured Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Sam Stosur. This week, Wozniacki has played her best tennis of this year in Miami including a first ever win over Serena Williams and a crucial breakthrough against one of the big stars on tour. Sharapova’s route through the draw has been relatively straightforward, but she has been far from her best; even in her 6-3 6-0 crushing of Li Na, she was handed the victory on a plate by a woeful Li. The fact that Sharapova has played poorly but still reached the semi-finals (and the only player to reach this stage of both Indian Wells and Miami) is a worrying sign for the rest of the tour.
Wozniacki and Sharapova have played each other five times with Sharapova leading the head-to-head, 3-2. She won their last match in Rome, 7-5 6-3, but lost the two matches before that in rather convincing fashion on hard courts. I would have gone for Sharapova hands down to win this, but Wozniacki’s win over Serena has certainly left plenty to ponder. I think Sharapova will come alive in the semi-finals, having to claw herself from the depths before progressing past the determined Dane.
Prediction – Sharapova to beat Wozniacki 3-6 7-5 6-2
Marion Bartoli (7) v Agnieszka Radwanska (5)
Marion Bartoli brought an end to the Vika winning streak with a sensational 6-3 6-3 quarter-final victory. It was one of those performances where everything clicked for the Frenchwoman with her battering two-fisted groundstrokes causing Azarenka all kinds of problems. Radwanska had a big win too, but was helped along the way by an exhausted Venus Williams in a 6-4 6-1 victory.
Radwanska has won all six of her previous encounters with Bartoli including a straightforward 6-3 6-2 victory in Dubai last year. Both have siginficantly improved since that last meeting with Bartoli now demonsrating a raw fighting spirit to complement her excellent baseline game, meanwhile Radwanska has added more aggression to go with her superb consistency. It will be tight at the start, but Radwanska will be too solid for Bartoli in the end…
Prediction – Radwanska to beat Bartoli 7-5 6-1