Maria Sharapova vs Ana Ivanovic, Brisbane Final Preview

(1) Maria Sharapova vs (2) Ana Ivanovic

We have a dream final in the first premier event of the season with top Seeds and fierce rivals Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic set to battle it out on Pat Rafter Arena for the Brisbane International title.

Maria Sharapova continued her incredible start to the season with an emphatic 6-1 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina. Maria put on a clinic in the opening set, blowing Svitolina off the court with extreme power. The second set was more of the same until a late resurgence from the Ukrainian saw four match points saved.

Ultimately it was too little too late as Sharapova closed out the match with a blistering backhand return winner. Svitolina did not play poorly, Maria was simply too good. One of the best signs this week for Maria has been the lack of double faults and unforced errors committed. Ana Ivanovic will present a different test in the final.

 

Ivanovic's pathway to the final has been less straightforward. The Serb was forced to battle extremely hard for her semi-final victory over Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko lead for much of the opening set as Ana struggled to return the American's first serve. Ana eventually turned things around to take the opening set on a tiebreaker.

The second set was much more straightforward, however Lepchenko did show some stern resistance in the later stages. Ana will need to improve on her performances this week if she is to challenge a red-hot Maria Sharapova on Saturday night.

 

Maria has a commanding 9-4 head to head record over Ana, however they did share the honours on their four meetings last season. The most famous (or infamous) of the four took place in Cincinnati, where Ivanovic prevailed in a drama filled three set epic.

Anything could happen when these two come up against one another. However, based on Maria's form this week, I would have to say she is the clear favourite to win this match.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Ana Ivanovic in straight sets

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