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Today's women's final at the Nasdaq-100 Open (noon, Ch. 4) has all the trappings of one of those tense, terrific championship matches here between Serena or Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati.

Maria Sharapova, the point woman of the Russian tennis revolution, versus Kim Clijsters, who probably will be asked to donate her wrist to medical science one day.

The two most deserving women reached this final match and both did it with exclamation points. Sharapova, the No. 2 seed, defeated Venus Williams in the semis, 6-4, 6-3, while Clijsters ran shockingly through No. 1 seed Amelie Mauresmo, 6-1, 6-0, giving her only 10 points in the second set.

This one, very much like the Williams sisters versus Capriati, is going to have crashing ground strokes, a lot of shrieking, at least from one side, and a highly charged ambience.

Clijsters at 21 is the veteran in this showdown, four years older than Sharapova, but that will make no difference.

To watch Sharapova is to watch a player totally comfortable with her game and her surroundings. She does not flinch from her highly aggressive game, even in tight situations, and Clijsters has already made the point that she has to get out to a strong beginning.

"That's the thing about those kind of girls now. You have to play aggressively. You have to keep your unforced errors down. You just have to be there from the start, because once they start going, they get on a roll and they just start cruising," Clijsters said.

Clijsters watched Sharapova run through Williams without losing her serve and balking only in the final game of the match. "I saw that against Venus," Clijsters said.

"Once she gets into that rhythm, she hits the ball so clean and so flat and so hard. So you just have to maybe try to break that rhythm sometimes like I maybe did in the final of Indian Wells against Lindsay (Davenport)."

For her part, Sharapova seems supremely unbothered by anything. She was asked two days ago if she has a check list of things she goes through before taking the court, like staying off this opponent's backhand or not taking that opponent's second serve for granted.

But there's nothing on her mind, she said.

"It's pretty boring. I'm just happy to be out on center court, thanking God that I can have this opportunity. There's nothing in particular that I think about."

The Williams sisters' lives are filled with business commitments as well as tennis, and so is Sharapova's life, of course. But she's got her priorities straight.

"I have a pretty well-based schedule with all the days of the week telling me where you're going for tennis, where you have to make time for your sponsors, and then there's time off, which is probably only 10 days of the year.

"But there's a whole team behind it, and of course tennis is always the top priority on that schedule."

If there is anything working against Clijsters in this match, it's fatigue. She's played two consecutive Tier I tournaments at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne and gone the distance both times. This is her 14th match in the last three weeks coming up.

She had a day off Friday, but is it enough? And there is a possible problem with her injured wrist, which she has taped the past two matches because she's feeling minor twinges.