The womens final in Miami will be contested between Serena Williams and Li Na. It begins at 1pm local time, which is 5pm in the UK. Here’s the preview…
Serena Williams was first into the Miami final as she continued her ownership of Maria Sharapova with a fifteenth consecutive victory. Sharapova certainly had her moments and led by a break in both sets; however when things got a little dicey, Serena cranked up the heat and came through dominantly in both sets for a 6-4 6-3 victory. Serena was zoning the returns right at Maria’s feet and she played well although there was definitely room for improvement.
Li Na secured a finals match between the top two seeds as she beat Dominika Cibulkova for the third time this year. Like their match in Indian Wells, she dropped the middle set and was erratic for large portions of the match, but she closed it out confidently. Li has been pretty error-strewn through the last two tournaments, but semi-finals in Indian Wells and a final appearance in Miami indicate she is developing a rather healthy knack for winning ugly.
Serena leads the head-to-head over Li, 10-1. It is a dominant lead, but many of those matches have been close. The only one-sided scoreline came during last year’s US Open semi-final where Serena won 6-0 6-3. Their last match in the final of the YEC in Istanbul saw Li win a set and look in complete control before Serena awoke from her slumber and deal down a rather hefty blow with a third set bagel, eventually prevailing, 2-6 6-3 6-0. There were some positive signs from Li in that match with a number of serve-and-volleys, and demonstrations of new ideas on how to break down Serena.
In this final match, Li will have to play a reasonably clean match particularly with Serena holding a mental edge in their head-to-head. We saw that against Sharapova in the semi-finals although with the way Li has been playing and the significant improvements she has made in her mental game with Carlos Rodriguez’s help, in my opinion, she has more of a chance than Maria did. In a match between the top two in the world, it will be another interesting gauge of where Li’s game is at.
Prediction: Serena d. Li in 2 tight sets