Sunday, April 1, 2012

Radwanska upsets Sharapova for big title

   Maria Sharapova seemingly had all the advantages entering Saturday's final against Agnieszka Radwanska in the Sony Ericsson Open.
   Power? A 6-foot-2, Sharapova is six inches taller than Radwanska.
   Pedigree? Sharapova, 24, has played is six Grand Slam singles finals, winning three. Radwanska, 23, has never advanced past the quarterfinals of a major.
   Head-to-head record? Sharapova led 7-1.
   The fifth-seeded Radwanska, however, outsteadied No. 2 Sharapova to win 7-5, 6-4 in Key Biscayne, Fla., for the biggest title of her career. Radwanska, from Poland, committed only 10 unforced errors to Sharapova's 45.
   “She was very consistent, got that extra ball back, and I made that extra mistake,” said Sharapova, who fell to 0-4 in Key Biscayne finals and  0-3 in finals this year. “When I had my chances at break point, I didn’t take them. When she had them, she did.”
   Sharapova's backhand continued to let her down. It also plagued her in a 6-3, 6-0 loss to first-time Grand Slam singles finalist Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open in January.
   Sharapova still isn't the player she was before undergoing shoulder surgery in October 2008. She still seeks her first title since last August.
   Radwanska, meanwhile, has won five titles since then. She is 0-4 against Azarenka this year and 26-0 against everyone else.
   Radwanska said she has been more relaxed since Polish Fed Cup captain Tomasz Wiktorowski replaced her father, Robert, as her traveling coach one year ago.   
   “It’s good just to separate those things like being a father, being a coach," Radwanska, the first Polish champion in Miami history, said after the semifinals. But at home I’m still practicing with my dad, so it’s not really a big change. It’s working, so it’s good.”
   Men's final -- In a battle of past Miami champions, top-ranked Novak Djokovic will meet No. 4 Andy Murray for the men's title today at 10 a.m. PDT (CBS).
   Djokovic, who's 7-5 against Murray, won the title last year and in 2007. Murray beat Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 in the 2009 final.
   The rivals have met twice this year. Djokovic prevailed in a five-set epic lasting 4 hours, 50 minutes in the Australian Open semifinals en route to the title and Murray subsequently winning 6-2, 7-5 in the Dubai semifinals.
   Colleges -- The sixth-ranked Stanford women (13-0, 6-0 Pacific-12 Conference) made it five shutouts in a row with a rain-shortened 4-0 victory over No. 28 Arizona (12-6, 2-3) at Stanford.
   The match between the No. 9 Cal women (14-4, 6-0 Pac-12) and No. 27 Arizona State (10-4, 2-2) in Berkeley was postponed by rain until today at noon.
   The No. 59 Sacramento State women (12-9, 7-0) extended their Big Sky Conference winning streak to 89 matches spanning 11 years by winning 5-2 at Montana (10-7, 3-2) and 7-0 at Montana State (4-9, 2-2).
   The host Sac State men (6-10) won their third straight match, 5-2 over UC Riverside (6-12) in a nonconference contest indoors.
   In Honolulu, the UC Davis women (6-11) won 4-3 against Hawaii Pacific (12-4) but the UCD men (3-11) fell 6-3 to the Sea Warriors (10-3).

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