A rematch of the 2013 Sony Open final between defending champion Serena Williams and runner-up Maria Sharapova is scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon in Miami. The two top competitors have crossed paths on 17 previous occasions, with Williams leading the series 15-2. Sharapova has not defeated the American in nearly a decade, and will have her work cut out for her if she is to maintain her unblemished 5-0 record in Premier Mandatory semi-finals. Check out the Williams vs Sharapova Head to Head and stats.
Top seed Serena Williams followed up on her strong performance on Monday with an even better showing against Angelique Kerber on Tuesday afternoon. The American breezed past the world No. 9 6-2, 6-2, hitting 27 winners to secure the victory in 62 minutes. It was William’s 65 win at this event, and furthers her quest for a record seventh title in Miami.
“I felt much better today than in a few of my other matches here,” Williams said. “Knowing I was going to play a Top 10 player, I knew I had to come out and play really well tonight. And I did play well.”
World No. 7 Maria Sharapova rebounded from her less-than-stellar performance on Monday afternoon to cruise past Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1. Kvitova, who was looking to continue her momentum from a 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Ana Ivanovic, jumped to a 2-0 lead early in the match – making it 14 consecutive games in three sets of tennis. Yet it was when Sharapova was 2-4 down that she made the definite switch that ultimately won her the match.
“I didn’t have a good first few games, so I was happy I kept trying to do the right thing – keep steady, but also keep trying to be aggressive,” Sharapova said after the match. “I think that really paid off as the match went on, because I made a few too many unforced errors in the beginning.
Sharapova would go on to win the next 11 of 13 games, closing out the second set 6-1 to the delight of the crowd in attendance. She is now 6-0 in Premier Mandatory quarter-finals but is next scheduled to face her longstanding rival Serena Williams, to whom she has lost the last 14 consecutive matches to.
“It’s no secret that she’s been a big challenge of mine, an opponent that obviously I would love to beat,” Sharapova said of Williams. “There are certainly ways I need to step up in certain situations I haven’t been able to do in the past against her, but it’s great I have the opportunity to play her again.”
“The last few times we’ve played, I’ve had some chances that I wasn’t quite creating a couple years ago,” Sharapova commented. “It’s about taking those, though. Someone like Serena, who plays with so much confidence and so much power, you really need to take those few opportunities that you have.”
Williams and Sharapova will be competing for the 18th time on the professional tour, with Williams dominating the series 15-2. Sharapova kindled the rivalry with her shocking upset at the 2004 Wimbledon final, and followed up with another victory at the WTA Tour Championships that year, yet has since lost 14 consecutive matches to the American. While she had recently managed to appear more competitive in the rivalry, her performance this week – apart from her strong showing against Kvitova – do not provide promising signs on her chances of defeating Williams.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets