Slick Sharapova storms into final

ESPN staff
March 28, 2013

Maria Sharapova will face Serena Williams in the final of the Sony Open in Miami after destroying Jelena Jankovic 6-2 6-1.

The Russian has carried over her form from winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and has now reached back-to-back finals, and the world No. 2 did so after putting on a stunning display.

Sharapova has only played in four events in 2013 and has been one of the most consistent players so far on the WTA circuit. Already this year she has reached two semi-finals and won at Indian Wells, and is now bidding for a second title of the campaign, and aiming to win the Sony Open for a first time at the fifth attempt.

The French Open champion was hardly troubled against the former world No. 1 Jankovic, and the writing was on the wall right from the off as Sharapova raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, taking the first two games without dropping a point.

Jankovic rallied to win the following two games to recover one of the two breaks back, getting a helping hand from Sharapova's double fault. However, that proved to be the only dip in Sharapova's game as the Russian regained her composure to open up her three-game advantage, before claiming the opening set 6-2.

Sharapova was clearly dominating her opponent, and if there was to be a swing in momentum it would have to come from the four-time grand slam champion Sharapova breaking down.

Much to Jankovic's disappointment that did not happen, as the second set was an almighty struggle for the Serb. Sharapova was returning everything with interest from Jankovic's serves, and there was simply nothing she could do to get a foothold in the contest.

Sharapova went one better in the second set and took the opening four games, securing them with some powerful serving, and it was beginning to turn into a massacre on court with Jankovic on the end of a barrage of attacks from Sharapova.

Jankovic managed to avoid the dreaded bagel in the set to make it 4-1, but it was a struggle to do so as she had to save yet another break point to fend off Sharapova. The fifth game was as good as it got for the former US Open finalist as Sharapova won the next two games to march on into the final.

Sharapova will now face Williams, who dominated Agnieszka Radwanska in a 6-0 6-3 rout later in the day.

The victory meant Williams, a five-time Sony Open champion, overtook Steffi Graf for most match wins at the event - moving ahead on her own with 60 after thoroughly outclassing the Pole.

"It definitely felt really good today," Williams said afterwards. "I kept my unforced errors rather low. On a couple shots out there I think I got pretty lucky, but I've been practicing really hard and it's all just paying off, so I don't know if it's luck. I don't believe in luck - I believe in hard work."

Radwanska, who had just six winners to Williams' 40, admitted she was powerless for much of the contest.

"Serena really had an answer for everything," Radwanska said. "The first set just went too quickly. In the second set I was really trying to make something happen, but she was playing too well. She served too well - it seemed like nearly three aces every game. I really couldn't do anything out there today.

"When Serena's playing like that, it really doesn't even matter who's on the other side of the net."

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