Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova to face each other in the final of Indian Wells on Saturday
Former world number one, Maria Sharapova, dispatched the 26-year-old compatriot, Maria Kirilenko, in the semi-final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 on Friday. She secured her fifth head-to-head victory against Kirilenko having played seven matches in all competitions during her entire career.
Sharapova drew the first blood in the third game of the match and left her opponent trailing from a deficit of two games throughout the first phase. Kirilenko couldn’t impress anyone against her compatriot. She was missing the sitters and had no answers to the sublime placement and power play of the 25-year-old Sharapova. She saved a breakpoint to hold her opponent from running away with the show in the seventh game but couldn’t break serve back to keep the set alive for long.
The second was quite competitive with both players meeting each other blow-by-blow. They capitalised on their serves during the first six games with no pressure at all except the opening serve for Kirilenko was a bit tough to hold. The scoreboard pressure kept piling on the 15th ranked Russian who dropped a breakpoint and allowed her opponent to register a lead of 5-3.
Kirilenko had to hold serve to keep the match alive but she failed to win more than two points whilst her rival clasped the third breakpoint of the match to round off the proceedings in quick succession. The third ranked Sharapova is well on course to win the title at Indian Wells. She is eyeing the top spot in the world rankings before her title defence at the Roland Garros French Open begins in May.
With the withdrawal of the top seed Victoria Azarenka due to an injury issue, Sharapova was left the hot-favourite contestant to clasp the title and she is just one victory away in winning the first title of the current season. She will take on the likes of the 23-year-old Dane, Caroline Wozniacki, who enjoyed a year-long spell as the number one player in the world. So, it is going to be the clash of the titans with two former world number ones taking on one another on Saturday night.