The world number two, Maria Sharapova will do battle with the world number four, Agnieszka Radwanska for the Sony Ericsson Open title in Miami. The two finalists have been two of the most consistent performers in 2012 ranking at number 2 and 3 in this year’s race standings behind Victoria Azarenka, who was ousted in the quarter-finals by Marion Bartoli.
Sharapova struggled to hit top form in the early rounds but played some excellent tennis to get past Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals. There were some mental lapses in that semi-final, particularly in that first set where she let a 4-1 lead slide away, but she continues to be the ultimate competitor having won 17 of her last 18 three set matches. It must be said that Radwanska has had a very straightforward passage through to the final. In the last two rounds, she has advanced past a tiring Venus Williams and an injured Marion Bartoli… however you cannot knock that every opponent she has been presented with, she has done all that is required off her and played some good tennis to reach this stage.
Sharapova leads the head-to-head with an overwhelming seven wins to one against Radwanska. Their last match was at last year’s French Open where Radwanska had a host of chances, but failed to make any of them as she went down, 7-6 7-5 in the Round of 16. There is a little bit of extra spice to the occasion as Radwanska discussed the matter of Sharapova’s grunting at the Australian Open in a post-match conference. Radwanska’s consistency and variety has made her a very tough opponent on the tour this year. Sharapova will encounter some obstacles, but her attacking threat will get her across the finish line….
Prediction – Sharapova d. Radwanska 7-5 6-3