No, this isn’t the semifinals or even the quarterfinals. It’s just the third round at the Madrid Masters and we have two big, blockbuster women’s matches on tap tomorrow.
Serena Williams takes on rival Victoria Azarenka and later a pair of Grand Slam runner-ups, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska, collide.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova are also in action as is Sam Stosur who takes on another US Open champion in Svetlana Kuznetsova. Sharapova faces rising star Caroline Garcia who has given the Russian trouble in the past. But the main event is Serena against Vika.
Serena is of course undefeated on the year at 23-0 (she’s won 25 straight overall) and with the women’s Top 10 in a weak state, it’s hard to see anyone beating her. But one person who has done it in the past in Azarenka.
Serena has defeated the Belarussian 14 of 17 meetings, but Azarenka beat her twice in 2013 and their two most recent clashes since were close.
Azarenka is coming of an injury-riddled 2014, so maybe she’s rounding back into form – she just beat Venus quite handily? Or maybe we’ve seen her best, it’s hard to say – she’s still only 25 (Serena is 33!). But we’ll find out a lot more tomorrow on that and whether she’ll be a factor at the French.
I hope so, because like I said, the women’s Top 10 is a mess right now. The WTA needs her back.
And with Simona Halep out, Azarenka is probably the last player with any chance of beating Serena in the Madrid tournament. Wozniacki might have a chance as well in the final.
Speaking of Wozniacki, the resurgent Dane leads Radwanska 7-4 winning both meetings last year. Radwanska since added and then subtracted Martina Navratilova from her coaching box. Now ranked No. 9, Aga has to be desperate for some kind of meaningful win – it’s been a while. And this would be it.
“We grew up playing together. We’ve known each other since we were both eight years old,” Wozniacki said. “There are no secrets out there – we practice together all the time, and we play against each other a lot too. She’s been playing really well this week, so it’s going to be a really tough match.”
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