WTA Miami, Semi-Final #1 Preview: Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams

Dominika Cibulkova defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in a brilliant quarter-final to open up Wednesday’s singles proceedings.  Cibulkova saved three match points and fought for two hours and 39 minutes to get past Radwanska, 3-6 7-6(3) 6-3.  As I wrote in yesterday’s preview, I still haven’t come to terms with Domi being a relevant threat, but it’s a fun change-up.  Cibulkova will now break the top ten and hopefully, Radwanska will take a break.  The fourth and final semi-finalist will be decided tonight when Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na meet later in Miami. The first semi-final in Miami is all set and it’s a blockbuster clash… does Maria stand a chance though?

1. Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova (WTA Miami, SF)


Serena Williams

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet for the 18th time on the WTA tour in the first of the womens semi-finals in Miami.  After the quarter-finals, there is an ominous feeling in the air after Serena produced a dominant performance to dispatch of Angelique Kerber, 6-2 6-2.  She has had her fair share of struggles this week, but seems to be fighting through the rust to find her best level in 2014.  Equally, Sharapova enjoyed one of her best wins of the year against Petra Kvitova, 7-5 6-1 in the quarter-finals.  Sharapova kept a great depth on her shots and was able to effectively exploit Petra’s poor movement.  Petra also dished out several servings of cake with a poor service game when trying to stay in the first set and during most of the second set.

Serena and Maria have played five times in the last year with Maria winning one set in last year’s Miami final.  That match had the feeling of one step forward, two steps back as Sharapova led by a set and a break, but was bagelled in the decider.  She fought reasonably well in the French Open final and in their last match in Brisbane at the start of the 2014 season, which finished 6-2 7-6(7).  Ben Rothenberg tweeted that Serena said in her last press conference that Sharapova was “one of my favourite people to play”… no s**t.

I’m not a fan of either player, but I would like to see Maria put Serena in her place.  This could be a rocking match-up if Sharapova could somehow find a way to put some pressure on Serena. However I just cannot get over those 14 consecutive wins and the fact that Serena WILL raise her level when Maria is across the net.

Prediction: Serena d. Sharapova in 2 sets


WTA Miami Semi-Final Prediction

Li Na d. Dominika Cibulkova in 3 sets – No time for a full preview,.  I will be surprised if Cibulkova can get a first win over Li despite her fantastic recent form.  Li has been up-and-down, but very handy at closing out matches this week.

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