Sharapova aiming for rare double at Key Biscayne
KEY BISCAYNE, Florida — After winning the PNB Paribas Open last week, Maria Sharapova is aiming for a rare double when she lines at the Sony Open.
Only two players in WTA history have won back-to-back Indian Wells and Key Biscayne titles: Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996, and Kim Clijsters in 2005.
Sharapova, who won her second BNP Paribas title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday, isn’t scheduled to play until Friday at the Sony Open.
All the seeded players in the men’s and women’s draw receive a first-round bye.
“These tournaments are always really tough because they’re close together,” the No. 3-seeded Sharapova said. “As soon as you’re done with the first one (Indian Wells) you’re onto the next one and you’re here. I’m looking forward to trying to take it a step further (here) this year.”
Sharapova came close to achieving the back-to-back victories in 2006, winning the Indian Wells tournament and reaching the final at Key Biscayne.
Overall, she’s been in four Sony Open finals, including last year when she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
For Sharapova, who moved to the United States from Russia as a 9-year-old, the Sony Open is the event where she first watched professional tennis.
“I have a lot of history here,” Sharapova said. Miami “is the city where I first landed when I came to the United States. I’ve been a fan of this tournament since I was young because I came here with my family to watch it.
“And then I was able to play in it and be a part of it and I’ve been to three or four finals here. So, hopefully, I can lift the trophy here one day.”
The fourth-seeded Radwanska won three titles last year and has 10 overall in her career. She’s never successfully defended a title, but she’s hoping the Sony Open could be the first time she achieves the feat.
“It’s always great to be back at a place where you have great memories and had great matches,” said Radwanska, who reached her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last year.
“There’s always pressure and a lot of points to defend. But every week the top players feel a lot of pressure.”
There were 10 main draw women’s matches played on Tuesday. Veteran Japanese player Kimiko Date-Krumm beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-2, 6-0.
Two former top 10 players — Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Andrea Petkovic of Germany — were in action.
Pennetta won her first-round match 6-4, 6-1 over Johanna Larsson of Sweden. Petkovic, playing in only her second tournament of the year following a knee injury at the Hopman Cup in January, defeated Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.
In other results, Ayumi Morita of Japan defeated Heather Watson of Britain 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, Kristina Mladecnovic of France had a 7-5, 6-2 win over Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada and Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan battled in the second-set tiebreaker to secure a 6-4, 7-6 (15) victory over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.