Azarenka vs. Stephens
|Date & Time||Thursday March 29, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka meet in the semifinals of the tennis 2018 Miami Open.
Sloane Stephens is coming off a straight sets win over Angelique Kerber that took 15 games to decide. In the victory, Stephens won 78 percent of her first serve points and 55 percent of her second serve points. Stephens has lost a combined 10 games in her last two matches against Kerber and Garbine Muguruza, and she’s coming off a match in which she won 69 percent of her service points. Stephens clearly has a thing for playing in the United States, as she’s been on fire since winning the US Open and is very comfortable in the Miami Open, as she lives in the area. Stephens hopes to make her first final appearance of the year and the sixth of her career. Stephens has never made a final in a WTA Premier Mandatory. Stephens has won five of her last seven semifinal appearances overall. Stephens won seven of her last nine matches on hard court.
Victoria Azarenka is coming off a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova that took 21 games to decide. In the victory, Azarenka won 57 percent of her first serve points and 50 percent of her second serve points. Azarenka wasn’t her sharpest in her quarterfinal victory, but she did win 56 percent of her return points and beat a quality player in straight sets. Azarenka has surpassed expectations this tournament, but she’ll have to be much cleaner with her serve in order to advance to the final. Azarenka hopes to make her first final appearance since the 2016 Miami Masters and her fourth career final in this tournament. Azarenka has won eight straight semifinal matches. Azarenka has won six of her last seven matches on hard court.
These two have played four times and Azarenka has won three of those meetings. The most recent match was in this years Indian Wells Masters, a match Stephens won in straight sets. All four matches between these two have been decided in straight sets.
Both of these players have been playing at a high level this tournament, so picking between the two is splitting hairs. However, Azarenka struggled with her serve in her quarterfinal match and that could be signs of fatigue given the lack of matches under her belt. Stephens not only beat Azarenka a couple weeks ago, but she’s been on fire in the US lately and has raised to the occasion in this tournament. Stephens seems to have her swagger back playing in Miami.
Give me Stephens to reach the final.