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2012 has been a marquee year for Maria Sharapova. The Russian completed her comeback to the tour by winning the French Open, and completing her 'career slam'. With that win, Maria displaced all circulating doubts about her ever returning to her devastating best again as she clinched her first Roland Garros crown on her least favorite surface. Later in the year, the Russian went on to claim the Silver at the Olympics for her country, and even though her performance in the final wasn't the greatest, as Serena Williams ran ragged.
She is now the World No.2 and comes into this year's WTA Championships on a slightly bad run of form, losing early at in Tokyo and then being outplayed in the China Open final by arch-rival Victoria Azarenka. The Russian is however one of the favorites to the crown, especially if the draw opens up for her. Her win-loss record stands at 56-10 this year.
At the other side of the net is a player who has improved tremendously over the course of 2012. Agnieszka Radwanska is one of the most entertaining players on the WTA circuit, her creative game play is a pleasure to watch. The Pole made a scintillating run at Wimbledon earlier in the year and reached the finals there. It was the first time the right-hander had made the finals of a Grand Slam, and she wasn't quite done there too. The right-hander put in a resilient performance in that final as well, fighting back in the second set after a listless showing in the first. She did however lose to Serena Williams in it, giving the American her fifth title at the All England Club.
Starting the year as the 8th ranked player in the World. She has won 3 WTA titles this year, and has been remarkably consistent, with a win-loss record of 57-17. Radwanska's strength lies in her work rate, which is second to none. It does however have a flip-side as pro-active players such as Williams and Azarenka tend to feed on her defensive game making her look like a 'nobody'.
Having played one another 9 times before, these two know one another's game pretty well. The Russian has won 7 of those matches but their only match in 2012 was won by Radwanska.
It all sets up brilliantly for an exhilarating encounter. TennisEarth has its money on Sharapova today.
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