2011 Sony Ericsson Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Finals
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
It sure didn’t look good early for Sharapova against Petkovic in the semis, but she rebounded big-time and went on to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 to reach the finals in Miami for the third time in her career. She is looking for her first title in Miami and the win would also show the rest of the tennis world that she is back and means business. She will already get back into the top 10 by reaching the finals, and I don’t think it will be long now before she is back in the top five.
Azarenka never let Vera Zvonareva even have time to breath, as she came out firing from the first game. She won this title back in 2009, which is the biggest win of her career thus far. She came into Miami with a 9-5 record on the year, so she needed a big tournament to get her back on track. If she continues to play like this in 2011, watch out!
This is the fifth career meeting between Sharapova and Azarenka and they have split the previous four. They met once in 2010 and Azarenka won that in straight sets. Let’s break down both of these women’s games.
Sharapova’s biggest asset is her competitiveness. She never, ever gives up and her fighting spirit helps her win many matches. She thrives on winning quick points, and she can only do this if her serve is clicking. If it is, she will get defensive returns and put the ball away with her fantastic groundstrokes. Her movement has been very solid throughout the tournament and when she moves well, she is very dangerous.
Azarenka is a very offensive player. She shoots from the hip, and she doesn’t play the best defense, but it doesn’t hurt her either. She moves very well, has an excellent serve, and like Sharapova, she is very competitive. Sometimes she lets her emotions get the best of her, but she hasn’t had any problems thus far in Miami.
To win this match, Sharapova is going to have to have a big serving day. Watch out Azarenka, she will also attack and weak serves when returning! She will need to keep Azarenka pinned back behind the baseline to keep her on the defensive. If Azarenka is able to dictate play, like she did against Zvonareva, she will have the upper hand. This is going to be a close match, and I think it will go three sets. Who do you think will win?
Nick’s Pick – You pick the match!!