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Sony Ericsson Open Day 9 - WTA quarterfinals preview

691   //    27 Mar 2012, 13:20 IST

After some grueling Round 4 encounters, it is time for the bottom-half players to play their quarter-final matches at Crandon Park. The first quarterfinal will see No.2 seed and three-time Miami finalist Maria Sharapova take on reigning French open champion Li Na , and the night session will feature 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams taking on former World No.1 Caroline  Wozniacki.

(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs (8) Li Na(CHN) [Head to Head:Sharapova leads 5-4]

Can Li Na make it 5 wins in a row against Sharapova?

Sharapova and Na have an interesting rivalry.Even though their head-to-head  puts Maria on top, Li has won the last four matches. Sharapova has had a good start to the year even though she has had no answers to Azarenka’s consistent power game in the two finals they have played so far in 2012. Sharapova played well at Indian Wells last week until the finals, but in Miami she has not looked quite as strong. After struggling past Shahar Peer in Round 2, she had a relatively easy win against Sloane Stephens but in her fourth round match against Ekaterina Makarova, Sharapova committed 11 double faults; the big flaw in her game seems to have returned. Sharapova has  been relatively consistent this year mainly because she had minimized those double faults, but if she starts making double digit double faults again, she will likely find herself in big trouble, especially against an opponent like Li Na who hasn’t lost to Maria since the 2009 French Open. Even though Li herself does not seem near the form that saw her lift the French open trophy, she has a game that can give a lot of trouble to Maria, especially if Maria continues to make those high number of unforced errors and double faults that she has been making this week in Miami. Expect this match to be an error-filled encounter, with Li just about sneaking out a win.

Who will make the Semis – Serena or Wozniacki?

(10) Serena Williams (USA) vs (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [Head to Head:Serena leads 3-0]

Having avenged her 2011 US Open loss to Stosur and returned to the top 10, Serena will be full of confidence coming into the quarter-finals. On the other hand, no one expected Wozniacki to reach this stage of the tournament considering the presence of Kim Clijsters and nemesis Julia Goerges in her half of the draw. Making the quarters might increase her confidence a bit considering she has had a rough year so far. Wozniacki is yet to be tested in this tournament, while Serena has already proved her mettle in the fourth round, where she fired 20 aces to overcome a resilient Sam Stosur. Even though Wozniacki’s counter-punching can be troublesome for aggressive players, it is unlikely to  cause Serena any problems. Not only does Serena have consistently powerful strokes, but she also she has her ever-reliable serve in her arsenal. On the whole, the way Serena is playing at the moment , it will be quite a surprise if Wozniacki can manage to take a set off Serena.

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