Saturday, 6 October 2012

WTA Beijing: Sharapova v Azarenka Final Prediction

At the start of the week I would not have predicted Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka would be contesting the Beijing final! Maria Sharapova was not herself in Tokyo, eventually succumbing to a straight sets defeat to Sam Stosur in the quarter-finals, meanwhile Victoria Azarenka retired from her quarter-final match because of dizziness; both have bludgeoned their way through the Beijing draw paving the way for a fourth showdown in 2012 and their third in a final.

Victoria Azarenka produced an excellent semi-final performance to beat Marion Bartoli, 6-4 6-2.  Azarenka produced an impressive 34 winners to 19 unforced errors to make her first ever final in China.  In the other semi-final, Maria Sharapova beat Li Na, 6-4 6-0; the first set was a slugfest but Li completely fell away handing Sharapova a place in the final.  Neither has lost a set on the way to the final and both have dished out bagels; Azarenka two (1 to Alize Cornet and 1 to Romina Oprandi) and Sharapova three (one each to Polona Hercog, Angelique Kerber and Li Na).

Azarenka leads the head-to-head 6-4 and has won three of their last four encounters.  The last time they played was at the US Open where Azarenka edged Sharapova in an excellent semi-final, 3-6 6-2 6-4.  Azarenka has owned Sharapova on the hard courts this year and I am predicting a first title since Indian Wells for Vika...

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Sharapova in 2 tight sets

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