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When Serena Williams came to Doha on last Sunday, she had two goals in mind – climb back to the top of the WTA rankings and win her first title here in Qatar. Having already achieved the former, Serena now has her eyes set on winning the WTA Premier event in the Qatari capital.
The American, who really has been the gold standard in the women’s game over the last year, is yet to hit top gear here in Doha. She struggled in the second set of her pre-quarterfinal match against Urszula Radwanska and didn’t play her best tennis against Petra Kvitova yesterday either. But where she must be given credit is the heart and competitive spirit that the American displayed on court in that match against the Czech No.7 seed. Serena has had an injury plagued year so far, and she has been struggling with a throat infection ever since she has arrived here. The 31 year-old has only lost one match this year, and that was her defeat to breakthrough teenager – Sloane Stephens at the Aussie Open last month.
Between the American and a final berth stands crowd favorite and former two-time champion Maria Sharapova. The Russian has been in brilliant form all of this year, and that defeat to Li Na at the Aussie Open remains her only timid performance of 2013. Sharapova has been nothing short of superb here in Doha this week, having played three incredible matches. The Russian’s performance in the quarterfinal was sublime as she dug deep and showed a lot of strength in character to ward off 2011 US Open Champion – Samantha Stosur’s challenge.
What has impressed even more about the Russian in this tournament is the fact that she has served very well, with aces aplenty. Sharapova needs to serve big today to have any chance of upsetting Serena tonight.
Head to Head, it’s a lopsided 10 to 2 lead for Serena in this one.
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