WTA Madrid final - Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams (12:00 BST)

Maria Sharapova (credit: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova takes on Serena Williams this afternoon in the final of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open (12:00 BST start).

Today marks Sharapova's 50th WTA final and she would be delighted if she can record her first win over Serena since 2004. To add extra spice to an already mouthwatering match-up, the winner of this one will go into Rome next week as world No. 1. 

Sharapova was convincingly outplayed by Williams on a number of occasions in 2012, but she came close in the Miami final last month, leading by a set and a break before Serena came roaring back, pulverising the Russian's serve with her usual venom to clinch victory in three sets.

However, clay could provide Sharapova with her best chance. These days she's the player to beat on the dirt, while Serena is at her most vulnerable on red clay. She played well to defeat Sara Errani in straight sets in the semi-finals, but she nearly exited the tournament in the quarters after being bagelled by Anabel Medina Garrigues, which will have given Sharapova plenty of hope.

Sharapova on the other hand has played extremely well all week and hasn't been seriously troubled, impressively outplaying Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-3 in the semi-finals.

This could be close.

Prediction: Sharapova in three.
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WTA Madrid final - Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams (12:00 BST)

Maria Sharapova takes on Serena Williams this afternoon in the final of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open (12:00 BST start).

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