The head-to-heads for the semi-finals both look lopsided on paper and things went completely with the form book as Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka set up a mouthwatering Doha final. Azarenka was first through to the final as she beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3 6-3. Azarenka played well, but Radwanska had little to offer in terms of resistance apart from a brief spell of intent in the second set. Serena defeated Maria Sharapova, 6-3 6-2 in the other semi-final with another result that was never in doubt. It was a sloppy performance from Sharapova who once again failed to even trouble Serena. I find it hard to understand how one of the best competitors on the WTA tour can be so intimidated by Serena that every time she flops without barely a whimper.
Although the head-to-head for the final is like that of the semi-finals, there is certainly belief that the Azarenka/Serena match-up can become more competitive. Remember the US Open final where Azarenka served for the title last year and although she has lost 11 times to Serena, I strongly believe that a win will come sooner rather than later for Azarenka. Serena has not been on her A–game this week and in particular, her serve has not been as consistent as we are used to seeing. Azarenka has been solid, but most impressively this week has been her desire to step up the court. My predictions are done for this week as I plumped for Sharapova to win the title. For that reason, I am going for a gamble and pick Azarenka to defend her title in Doha.
Prediction – Azarenka to beat Serena in 3 sets