World’s two highest-ranked players and top two seeds of the China Open tournament will face each other in the title match – No.1 Victoria Azarenka and No.2 Maria Sharapova. Neither has lost a set all week, actually, they didn’t lose many games either, except Sharapova’s tight first-round match against Simona Halep.
The first on court was Sharapova, facing home favorite Li Na in the semis. The Russian fell behind 1-3, before winning 11 of the next 12 games for a clean 6-4 6-0 score. In the other semifinal, Azarenka took on Marion Bartoli, the player who ended her 26-match winning streak in Miami. Just like in her other matches this week, the Belarusian didn’t waste much time. She was tested in the first set, before storming to a 5-1 lead in the second and finishing the match on Bartoli’s serve, having failed to serve it out in the previous game. Final score: 6-4 6-2. Azarenka has now surpassed Angelique Kerber in the number of match wins this season, with 61.
Azarenka is 6-4 head-to-head against Sharapova and has won their last five meetings on hardcourts. This season Azarenka leads Sharapova 3-1. Moreover, this will be their sixth meeting in the title match and in those encounters Azarenka is also leading, 4-1. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)