Tag Archive | "Miami"

Li Na, Radwanska, Venus roll into next round at Sony Open

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Li Na, Radwanska, Venus roll into next round at Sony Open


IMG_2397_RadwanskaSony Open No. 2 seed Li Namade it to the third round without striking a ball on Friday when her opponent Alisa Kleybanova pulled out of the tournament due to a viral illness. Kleybanova, is making a comeback from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Kleybanova wasn’t the only withdrawal on the day for the women. No. 6 Simona Halep pulled out before her match due to a right toe injury.

2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska stopped Romina Oprandi 6-0, 6-4.

“First of all, I started very well,” the No. 3 seed said. “She started to play much better in the second set and we had a lot of breaks and long games – it was tricky, and I was getting a bit nervous.

“But I was happy I could finish this match in two sets today.”

Other seeded winners on the day included (10) Dominika Cibulkova over Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-2, (11) Caroline Wozniacki had to fight her opponent and the crowd when she topped Monica Puig 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, (15) Carla Suarez Navarro beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-4, 6-1 and (17) Sloane Stephens (17) won over Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3.

American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off the upset of the day on the ladies side of the draw by ousting No. 7 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2). Other surprises included Barbora Zahlavova Strycova who topped 13 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, Elina Svitolina stunned 21st seed Eugenie Bouchard 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, Ajla Tomljanovic defeated (30) Garbine Muguruza and young American Madison Keys stopped (31) Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2.

“I’m really happy about it,” Keys said. “I mean, I think I served well. I think that really helped me today.

The next challenge for Keys will be No. 2 seed Li Na.

“I mean, she’s a great player. She’s obviously done a lot in her career, so really happy to get through that one.”

“It’s such a good experience,” Keys commenting on the match-up in the third round.

“She’s a great player. She just won the Australian Open so she’s obviously doing well.

“Yeah, just a good experience and excited to go play.”

Former No. 1 and 29th seed Venus Williams moved on by beating Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3 in the night session.

For the 33-year-old who is playing her 15th Sony Open it’s her first match since winning the Dubai title last month.

“I have been working hard since then, and I feel really confident, you know, in every situation I’m in on the court.

“So I think that, you know, it was a big help for me in Dubai.”

“She’s competitive, a new player,” Williams said about playing Schmiedlova. “You never know what their game is really going to be like. I’d never even seen her play.

“But it’s obviously great to be in the next round.” She’ll play in the third round against Casey Dellacqua.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor in Miami. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Serena Williams, Sharapova Advance at Sony Open

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Serena Williams, Sharapova Advance at Sony Open


IMG_6153_Serena(March 20, 2014) World No. 1 Serena Williams had to dust off a little rust in the first set to beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (7), 6-2 in her opening match at the Sony Open.

The defending champion and six-time Key Biscayne title holder jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening set, only to see her opponent take the next four games. Williams broke Shvedova while she was serving for the set at 5-4. The set ended with a tiebreak, in which Williams fell behind 3-6. Williams rallied to save three set points and eventually win it 9-7 ending the set with a pair of aces and a backhand winner.

“It was an incredibly tough first set,” Williams said of the 69-minute set. “I just needed to relax and yet keep up the intensity.”

“Well, she was doing a little bit of everything, Williams said to media. She was hitting hard; she was hitting soft; she was doing a little bit of everything.

Things were back to normal for the 16-time major champion in the second set, winning the last 5 games of the set to give her the match.

The next opponent for Williams will be France’s Caroline Garcia.

Fourth seed Maria Sharapova joined Williams in the third round by beating Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-4 to begin the Thursday night session in Key Biscayne.

“She made me work extremely hard today,” Sharapova said. “She’s a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, as you saw, made me hit a lot, and made me feel like ‑‑ tried to do too much in certain situations.”

Always a bridesmaid but never a bride at the Sony Open for Sharapova who has lost five finals.

“I have been close, and I have had my fair share of chances of winning the tournament,” said the Russian. “Obviously I’m still looking for that.

Among the other WTA winners on Thursday were fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber who squeaked past Peng Shuai 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5), No. 12 Ana Ivanovic who topped young American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-1, and No. 28 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 champion, was upset by teen qualifier Donna Vekic 7-6 (5), 7-5.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor in Miami. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title

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Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title


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Serena Williams repelled Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win her sixth trophy at the Sony Open surpassing Steffi Graff with whom she was previously tied.

Williams had already made Sony Open history in the semifinals with the most victories on the women side, 60. Now, she wanted to stand in a league of her own by also capturing the trophy.

But, it was Sharapova in search of her first Sony Open crown, after failing four previous times, who handled the breezy conditions and the bright sun well early on. Subsequent to wasting three break point chances in a marathon eleven minute game, Sharapova fabricated a fourth in the fifth service game.

On that occasion when Williams’ backhand found the net, Sharapova converted the break for 3-2. However, the world number one applied the necessary pressure to bank the next game and square the set at 3 all.

Williams was not at her best on serve, frequently catching her toss and shading her eyes. In the ninth game, Williams double faulted to gift Sharapova a break point. When on the following point Williams dumped a forehand crosscourt into the net, Sharapova was in front 5-4.

With a love game replete with miscues by Williams, Sharapova sealed the first set. At that point, a visibly annoyed Williams slammed her racket against her chair, her wakeup call.

With an ace, Williams capped a love hold to start the second set. Then, by pushing Sharapova around, she got the break for 2-0.

Yet, a bevy of mistakes by Williams led to an ephemeral lead as Sharapova fabricated triple break point. As Williams fumbled another forehand, the players were back on serve.

Later, Sharapova set up triple break point once more with a backhand winner. By winning the fifth game, at 3-2, Sharapova was three holds from grabbing the elusive title and completing the rare feat of hoisting both the Indian Wells and Miami trophies. It has only been accomplished three times, last by Kim Clijsters in 2005.

Again though, Williams found the emergency brake. With two consecutive winners and a stellar return, Williams was at triple break point. As Sharapova’s stroke kissed the net’s bottom, the second set was leveled at 3 all.

Later courtesy of a double fault, Williams had a break point. She took a 5-3 lead when Sharapova committed another forehand error. Williams closed out the second set with an ace.

The decisive set became a nightmare for Sharapova. In the opening game, the world number two could not stave off double break point. Subsequent to Williams consolidating for 2-0, Sharapova threw in two successive double faults to provide her rival with an insurance break.

Williams pushed the cruise control button, capitalizing on a seventh break point to make it 100% conversion for the match and 5-0. Williams went on a ten game in a row tear to close out the championship.

Sharapova has gone down to Williams now in eleven successive encounters. She last triumphed in 2004. Today, in their maiden meeting in the final in Miami, Sharapova felt she wasted too many chances particularly in the second set “ I still had opportunities to get back at 3-4. I was up 40-15 and Love-30 in the next game. . . those are the games that you really need to keep challenging out there and keep being in them. . .those are the chances that you will have to take . . .if you want to win the match”.

Despite her heavy schedule up to this point, Sharapova cited fatigue was not a factor “ I feel fine. I’m very happy, very fortunate that I’ve been able to play. . . I have had a really great month and I think I can only take positives out of it, really”.

Clay is the next stop for the women’s tour. As the defending French Open champion, Sharapova is looking forward to Paris “when you experience such a nice moment in your career, to be able to come back there and to play on that court again where you lifted the trophy, it’s always special and meaningful. Especially for the amount of years that you’ve worked so hard to get to that point. I’ll treat it as any other title that maybe I haven’t won and really want to win because I would love to win it again”.

For the match, Williams’ first serve percentage was 51. She fired 35 winners and 32 unforced errors and was behind 4-6, 2-3. Sharapova connected on 64% of her first serves, struck 13 winners and 23 unforced errors.

The statistics explain Williams’ surprise in pulling off the victory “I honestly can’t say right now [how I turned it around]. I just feel everything was going so fast. . . I was just making so many errors. I just was like, Serena, are you really going to get to the final and not play up to your potential? I don’t think I had enough energy. I think I may have done too much work yesterday, may have hit too long, done too much gym”.

Williams’ strategy to get back into the match “at one point, I was just like, conserve your energy and try and relax and play better”. The serve was not a weapon today. Williams was hitting the first ball at times at 79 mph “I honestly have not served great this whole tournament, if you look at the stats. It hasn’t been my best week serving wise. Usually in the later rounds, I’m able to pick it up and do a little better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that today, so I had to rely on other parts of my game”.

Williams has eyed that sixth trophy since 2009 when she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final. This week, she even biked to the tournament to assure she would make her third round match.

Now, Williams will shift her focus to the clay in search of a companion for her lonely 2008 French Open trophy, the only major she possesses just one of. Clay is perhaps Williams’ most challenging surface. But, she does not view it as such “I think it’s only as hard as you say it is. I happen to love Roland Garros and I’m happy to play there. Hopefully I can just take it one match at a time. That’s in the future. I’m just going to do it one step at a time”.

Today’s performance by Williams qualifies as “winning ugly”. If on her worst day, Williams can walk away with the Sony Open, her 16th major, a second French Open may not be far behind.

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Murray Knocks Out Gasquet to Earn a Spot in the Final at the Sony Open

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Murray Knocks Out Gasquet to Earn a Spot in the Final at the Sony Open


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On Sunday, in the Sony Open final, Andy Murray will take on David Ferrer. Murray beat Richard Gasquet 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 to advance to his third final in Miami.

Gasquet befuddled the 2009 champion early on, getting the break with a beautiful back down the line winner. The Frenchman went on to consolidate and move ahead 3-0.

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Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final

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Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final


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The first men’s semifinal at the Sony Open showcased a pair of thirtysomething. World number five David Ferrer outlasted a resurgent Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his fifth Masters 1000 series final.

At 35, Haas, a former world number two, discovered his fountain of youth. Ranked 18th, the German ousted 24 year old Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round then stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in the round of 16. This year’s semifinal showing was the furthest Haas’ had advance in Miami.

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Murray into Forth Round at Sony Open

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Murray into Forth Round at Sony Open


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Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
Absences and withdrawals have marked the 2013 Sony Open Tennis event, but Andy Murray–to name just one–is restoring order to the proceedings. Murray earned his second consecutive straight-set win by dismissing Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(3), 6-3 during third-round action on Monday afternoon.

Dimitrov, who lost to Murray in the Brisbane final earlier this season, got off to a fast start. The 21-year-old Bulgarian twice led by a break in the first set but ultimately he could not serve it out at 5-4. Dimitrov also squandered a mini-break advantage in the ensuing tiebreaker and from there he lost the second set in less dramatic fashion.

“He probably got a little bit nervous,” Murray said of Dimitrov, “and that helped me. Once I started to improve my depth a bit I made it tough for him and he started to make more mistakes after that.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga followed suit on the show court and hammered Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and five minutes. Tsonga fought off the only two break points he faced to book a fourth-round showdown against Marin Cilic.

Compared with Cilic (a straight-set victor over John Isner) and Tsonga, Tomas Berdych took a more roundabout way to the last eight. Berdych saved a match point at 3-5 in the second set with a second-serve aces and he survived another in the ensuing tiebreaker. One break in the final frame of play allowed the fourth-seeded Czech to complete his comeback win.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for TennisTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open

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Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open


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Maria Sharapova’s quest to capture both the Indian Wells and Miami titles in the same season is still on track. Today at the Sony Open, Sharapova bounced countrywoman Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2 to book her spot into the fourth round.

At their last showdown in 2010, it was Vesnina who recorded the victory over Sharapova. With these two tied in their head to head 1-1 and Vesnina winning her maiden WTA title in Hobart this January, a decent row was expected between these Russian rivals.

Vesnina got off the block strongly with a love hold to start the match. After Sharapova’s double fault resulted in triple break point, Vesnina later converted for 3-1 when her counterpart misfired with a forehand stroke.

Yet, Sharapova promptly struck back with a break of her own to level the first set at 3 all. Another perpetual game ensued where on a fourth break point opportunity, Sharapova capitalized for 4-3.

Soon, Sharapova consolidated for 5-3. Despite being challenged on serve, the world number two eventually bedded the opening set.

Subsequent to an interminable game to arrive at 1 a piece. Sharapova manufactured triple break point and cemented a 2-1 lead. Henceforth, Sharapova was on cruise control securing a second break and ultimately closing out the last set easily.

Does one game give a glimpse into the outcome of a match? Perhaps. Looking back on the seventh game of the first set, Sharapova stated “I was down 1-3. . . I felt I had a bit of momentum. . . It was a really long one, I was ready for a water break. . .It was a very important game”. Considering the blistering wind and the hot temperature, Sharapova expressed that it was “one of those days when you know you might not be playing your best tennis. . . I got through and on to the next one”.

Depending on how Serena Williams performs in Miami, Sharapova could regain the number one ranking. On the subject, Sharapova cited “it’s always a great position to be in when you put yourself in a position to be close to No. 1. . . I don’t take that for granted. . . But I also know that it’s important to be levelheaded and think about the next [match] rather than the end result. . . So my theory is just to try to win . . .matches. . . and that gives you a better chance to be on top.”

Next up for Sharapova will be Klara Zakopalova. The latter defeated Maria Kirilenko 7-6, 6-4. Sharapova has bested Zakopalova in four of their five meetings, the last one was in Doha this February.

Earlier in the day, sixth seed Angelique Kerber was booted by Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-0. Cirstea will clash in the fourth round with Jelena Jankovic who defeated Nadia Petrova.

American teenager Lauren Davis’ run was halted at the third round by Alize Cornet who triumphed in three sets.

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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open

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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open


The Sony Open will be played in Miami March 18 through March 31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. In anticipation of the 2013 Sony Open, the tournament has released the men’s and women’s entry list.

Novak Djokovic, the 2013 Australian Open champion, returns to Miami to defend his 2012 title. Djokovic is looking for a place in the record books by attempting to win three straight Miami titles. The only player to have won the title three years in a row is Andre Agassi (2001 – 2003). Also joining Djokovic in Miami are Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. Absent from the roster this year is Roger Federer who has decided to limit his play in 2013 and in the process will be skipping the Sony Open.

On the women’s side Victoria Azarenka, the 2013 Australian Open champion, will be looking to add another title in Miami. Azarenka has won the title in Miami on two occasions. Agnieszka Radwanska will also be in Miami attempting to defend her 2012 Sony Open title. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams also highlight the women’s field. A title in Miami by Williams will break the record for most titles by a women in Miami. Williams is currently tied with Steffi Graf with 5 Miami titles.

Below is the official press release from the Sony Open :

SONY OPEN TO HOST GRAND SLAM PLAYER FIELD

Reigning Grand Slam Champions Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka all entered to play.

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyeopentennis.com) – The ATP and WTA entry lists for the 2013 Sony Open were announced today and the tournament will once again feature a Grand Slam caliber player field.

Click Here to View Full Lists

Each spring the Sony Open brings the greatest tennis players in the world to the Crandon Park Tennis Center and 2013 is no different. The Sony Open field features several Grand Slam champions including reigning singles champions Novak Djokovic (Australian Open), Rafael Nadal (French Open), Andy Murray (US Open), Victoria Azarenka (Australian Open), Maria Sharapova (French Open) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon and US Open).

Tickets to the 2013 Sony Open, which will be played March 18-31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or online at www.sonyopentennis.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 30 and the men’s final on Sunday, March 31.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 18-19 and will determine 12 more slots in each singles draw. The tournament will also award wildcards to five men and eight women. The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 19 as the women take the court, followed by the beginning of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 20.

Djokovic returns to Miami seeking a three-peat, having won the trophy in 2012 and 2011. He brought home his first Sony Open title in 2007. On the women’s side, 15-time Grand Slam champ and Olympic Gold Medalist, Serena Williams returns on a mission for a record-breaking sixth Sony Open title, but both contenders will face a tough field in their quest for Sony Open history.

On the men’s side, 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, recently made his return to the court and is entered to play his 10th consecutive Sony Open. Nadal, a three-time finalist, will attempt to capture his first title on the purple courts. Andy Murray, the 2009 Sony Open champion, will look to bounce back from last year’s final appearance and take home the coveted trophy.

The women’s field is also extremely competitive, featuring American Sloane Stephens, who made her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance this year, which included a win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Two-time Sony Open winner Victoria Azarenka, comimg off here second consecutive Australian Open title, seeks her third Sony Open title in five years. Also a favorite to capture her first Sony Open title is the ever-popular Maria Sharapova, who last year completed the career Grand Slam with her French Open victory.

With such a tremendous player field one might forget that the Sony Open is more than just tennis and has become the standard for first-class sporting events. High fashion, great food, fabulous shopping and celebrity musical performances have made the Sony Open the most glamorous stop on tour.

Come see why huge crowds as well as the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each March. Get your tickets today.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2013 Sony Open will be played March 18-April 31 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. In 2012 Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for his third Sony Open title, while Agnieszka Radwanska knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her first title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com

ABOUT SONY MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS: Sony Mobile Communications is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation, a leading global innovator of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for both the consumer and professional markets. Through its Xperia™ smartphone portfolio, Sony Mobile Communications delivers the best of Sony technology, premium content and services, and easy connectivity to Sony’s world of networked entertainment experiences. For more information: www.sonymobile.com

ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title



Novak Djokovic banked his 30th ATP title in Miami. The world number one downed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6 to capture his third trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open. Djokovic became the first player to successfully defend at this event since Roger Federer in 2005-2006.

This was a repeat of the 2009 Miami final. On that occasion, Murray hoisted the big prize. The Brit was appearing in his third final of 2012, victorious in Brisbane and beaten by Federer in Dubai.

At this juncture in 2011, Djokovic was 24-0 with the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open under his belt. Since winning at the Australian Open, Djokovic has had two defeats, each in the semifinal stage, one of them to Murray.

Out of nowhere in the opening set, after leading 40-0, Murray made two consecutive backhand errors and allowed Djokovic to later get to deuce. Down the road, three successive backhand miscues by Murray resulted in Djokovic converting.
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Sharapova Hangs on to Reach Fourth Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Sharapova Hangs on to Reach Fourth Sony Ericsson Open Final



Maria Sharapova out dueled Caroline Wozniacki 4-6,6-2,6-4 to advance to her second successive final at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Sharapova saw a 4-1, double break lead disappear in the first set as her serve collapsed. Wozniacki captured five consecutive games to steal the opening set.

Still Sharapova was able to turn the match around. Subsequent to breaking the initial game and holding, Sharapova struck a forehand winner to again build a double break advantage.

This time around by racing ahead 5-1, Sharapova was able to ultimately close out the second set.

The third set after failing to convert on a bevy of break points, Sharapova finally banked the break for 3-2. Then, the Russian seized another break for 5-2.

Despite Wozniacki resisting, salvaging a match point and narrowing the deficit to 4-5, the second time of asking, Sharapova put the match to bed.

A three time finalist at the Sony Ericsson Open including last year, Sharapova will attempt to grab her initial title in South Florida. Sharapova is also striving for her first trophy of 2012 after being second best to Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Sharapova’s opponent will be either Marion Bartoli or Agnieszka Radwanska, their match will take place tonight. Sharapova has a winning record against both ladies despite not competing against Bartoli since 2010.

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