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Djokovic Battles for Semifinal Slot, Sharapova Seeks Another Final at Sony Ericsson Open

The first match on stadium court at the Sony Ericsson Open has world number two Maria Sharapova and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki fighting for a berth in the final.

After reaching her maiden semifinal in Miami, Wozniacki will attempt to advance to her initial final of the season. Subsequent to her enormous victory in the quarterfinals over Serena Williams, the 21 year old will not be deterred by the challenge.

A runner up three times including 2011, Sharapova has been to the final on every occasion that she’s progressed past the fourth round at this event. It’s the initial encounter between these two this year. Sharapova has a slim advantage in their head to head of 3-2.

Surprise quarterfinalist Juan Monaco takes the court against Mardy Fish after the ladies. Although they’ve split their previous four meetings, Monaco won the last two in 2011.

Monaco is vying for his first semifinal appearance in Miami. His only previous semifinal at the Masters 1000 level was in Shanghai in 2010.

Fish who has had a lackluster beginning to this season is in his first quarterfinal of 2012. The world number eight is hoping to reach the semifinal here for the second straight year.

The top doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan are also in action in the afternoon and will take on Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the semifinals.

In the evening session defending champion Novak Djokovic squares off against David Ferrer. Ferrer was one of the few players to notch a win over Djokovic last year. Djokovic has prevailed in seven of their twelve meetings. Ferrer has been a semifinalist twice at the Sony Ericsson Open, last in 2006.

The night closes with Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska with each player striving for her first final at the Sony Ericsson Open. Both women are on a high after landmark triumphs.

Bartoli defeated world number one Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals terminating Azarenka’s perfect year. Radwanska stopped Venus Williams who was on a spectacular run her initial tournament following a prolonged absence.

Bartoli will be searching for her initial victory over Radwanska. The latter has captured all six of their previous encounters.

Here is Thursday’s order of play :

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stadium Start 1:00 pm

[4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS) WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM

[21] Juan Monaco (ARG) v [8] Mardy Fish (USA) ATP

[1] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA) v
[7] Leander Paes (IND)/Radek Stepanek (CZE) ATP

Starting at 7:00 PM

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM

Marion Bartoli (FRA) v [5] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) WTA

Court 1 Start 3:30 pm

[6] Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v
Lukasz Kubot (POL) OR Max Mirnyi (BLR)/Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) OR Daniel Nestor (CAN) ATP

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