Current women's world No. 1 and reigning Madrid Open champion Serena Williams is primed to repeat as champion at the Magic Box on Sunday in the women's final, extending her winning streak to 12 matches over the second-seeded Maria Sharapova.
The two top-ranked female stars have gone head-to-head plenty of the years. But since 2005, Williams has had the undeniable edge, topping Sharapova 11 straight times since beating her in the semifinals of the 2005 Australian Open.
Williams is 12-2 overall against Sharapova. She has dropped just three sets to the Russian star over her last 11 match wins.
Even more impressive, since her streak versus the now-26-year-old Sharapova began eight years ago, Williams, 31, is 2-0 against her rival on clay and 4-0 in tournament finals. The two have never met in a clay-court final, but with the No. 1 ranking at stake, expect the 15-time Grand Slam winner to bring her A-game.
Serena is playing some of the best tennis of her career this season. She's won three tournaments already (two in a row) and has only dropped two singles matches all year. She boasts a 30-2 singles recording this year heading into Sunday's final.
Although Sharapova has won all 10 of her sets in Madrid this week, Williams has dropped only one and has a distinct edge considering she took Sharapova out in straight sets in the quarterfinals of this tournament a year ago.
With so much at stake on Sunday, how can you not love Serena's chances? Not only does she have Sharapova's number, but she is firing on all cylinders. Everything about Williams' game is working at the moment. She's serving well, returning even better and playing break points with confidence.
It's surprising that Williams only has six clay-court singles titles over the course of her career the way she's playing in Madrid this May, but to think that she hasn't lost a clay-court tournament final since the 2003 Family Circle Cup in Charleston is outright shocking.
While the younger of the two Williams sisters isn't going to be mistaken for Rafael Nadal anytime soon, at the moment, she looks poised to enter the French Open later this month as the undisputed queen of clay.
That's not to say Sharapova is struggling, but that her best simply isn't good enough against today's Serena Williams. No one's is.
Even when she's off her game, she is arguably the most dangerous player in the women's game. And that's why she's set to repeat in Madrid on Sunday and maintain her stranglehold on the top of the WTA world rankings.
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