Caroline Garcia vs. Maria Sharapova, Montreal R3 Preview

Rogers Cup, Montreal. R3 Preview
🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

Caroline Garcia and Maria Sharapova will renew hostilities when they meet at the third round stage of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Thursday. It is Sharapova who has generally had the better of this match-up having won the first 4 meetings between the two. However, it was Garcia who beat Sharapova in their most recent meeting earlier this year in Stuttgart. Can the 6th seed make it back-to-back wins over the Russian?

Caroline Garcia of France in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Caroline Garcia kick-started her Rogers Cup campaign with a hard-fought 4-6 6-1 6-3 win over Magdalena Rybarikova. Garcia was wayward throughout the first set but cut back her unforced error tally in the second and third sets as she took control of the match with her strong court positioning and powerful game. Garcia will face a far more dangerous opponent in the next round against an in-form Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova has been brutal on route to the third round in Montreal. Sharapova started the week with a 6-1 6-2 win over Sesil Karatantcheva before producing one of her better performances in recent times to thrash the 12th seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-0 6-2. Sharapova has not won 3 consecutive matches on a hard court since Shenzhen in the first week on the year, can she change that in Montreal?

Sharapova holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Garcia, including two comfortable victories in their two previous meetings on a hard court. It was Garcia who won the their most recent match, a 3-6 7-6 6-4 win on clay in Stuttgart earlier this year. Expect another close match between two confident players when they meet in Montreal on Thursday.

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Garbine Muguruza vs. Maria Sharapova, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇪🇸 (3) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova

Garbine Muguruza will be searching for her first victory over Maria Sharapova when the pair meet in a blockbuster quarter-final clash at Roland Garros on Wednesday. Muguruza and Sharapova both enter this clash in ominous form, both are fresh after not having to complete a fourth round match. This is an exciting battle between two former champions in Paris, who will rise to the occasion and claim victory here?

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during her third-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Muguruza has waltzed into the quarter-finals in Paris without dropping a set. The Spaniard powered through the opening week with straight set wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Fiona Ferro and Samantha Stosur. Muguruza’s fourth round match lasted just 2 games before Lesia Tsurenko retired injured. Roland Garros is easily Muguruza’s most successful tournament, the 2016 champion is certainly now one of the main contenders in 2018.

Maria Sharapova is back into the quarter-finals in Paris for the first time since winning the tournament in 2014. Sharapova is a 2-time former champion in Paris, surprisingly Roland Garros is her most successful Grand Slam and suddenly she looms as a genuine contender to win a third title. Sharapova moved through the first week with a 3 set win over Richel Hogenkamp before improving her level to claim straight set wins over Donna Vekic and Karolina Pliskova. Sharapova was scheduled to meet Serena Williams in the fourth round but was handed a walkover into the next round.

Sharapova holds a perfect 3-0 record over Muguruza. The pair played in 2014 at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros, an event where Muguruza made her big breakthrough, Sharapova came from a set down to claim a 3 set win on that occasion and did the same thing at the Rogers Cup later in the year in what was their most recent match.

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Maria Sharapova vs. Serena Williams, Roland Garros R4 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R4 Preview
🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova vs. 🇺🇸 Serena Williams

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams will renew hostilities when they meet at the fourth round stage at Roland Garros on Monday. This will be the 22nd chapter of the most talked about ‘rivalry’ in women’s tennis. Williams has absolutely dominated Sharapova, the American has won the last 18 matches between the pair. Nevertheless, Sharapova will be quietly confident heading into this match. It is Sharapova who is more match-hardened and brings the better form into this blockbuster clash, can Sharapova finally beat Williams?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Maria Sharapova is looming as a real contender in Paris. The Russian started the event with a tough 3 set win over Richel Hogenkamp. Sharapova was in danger of a shock opening round exit when she trailed Hogenkamp 0-3 in the deciding set but the Russian rallied to win the next 6 games. Sharapova has improved as the tournament has progressed. The 28th seed claimed a decent 7-5 6-4 win over Donna Vekic in the opening round before producing a superb performance to thrash the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-1 in just under an hour. For the first Maria looks like her old self again.

Serena Williams continues to defy the critics. Unseeded, ranked outside the top 450, playing in her first Grand Slam since giving birth about a year ago, the odds are against Serena. However, Serena has risen to the occasion, as we should expect from the 23-time Grand Slam champion. Serena started her Paris campaign with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova before battling from a set and a break down to defeat Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-4. Serena produced her best performance since her return to the tour at the third round stage where she comfortably beat the 11th seeded Julia Goerges 6-3 6-4. Can Serena go all the way in Paris?

Williams holds a 19-2 H2H record over Sharapova and has won the last 18 matches between the pair. An obliteration. The most recent match between the pair was at the Australian Open in 2016, Serena won that match 6-4 6-1. Sharapova has never beaten Serena on clay, will that change on Monday in Paris?

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Maria Sharapova, Roland Garros R3 Preview

Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova will face her first major test of the tournament on Saturday when she comes up against the 6th seeded Karolina Pliskova at the third round stage at Roland Garros. This is a huge opening week test for both Pliskova and Sharapova, both have been in great form of late and both will be keen to claim a statement victory and announce their title credentials in Paris.

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova continues to defy the critics and perform well on the red dirt. The 2017 Roland Garros semi-finalist started her 2018 campaign with a 7-6 6-4 win over Barbora Krejcikova before claiming a gutsy 3-6 6-4 6-1 win over Lucie Safarova. Pliskova flirted with danger in her match with Safarova as she found herself having to save break point to avoid going down a set and a break midway through the second set, Pliskova came through and did not face another break point for the entire match.

Maria Sharapova arrived in Paris high on confidence after runs to the quarter-finals in Madrid and the semi-finals in Rome. However, it was not a confident start to the tournament for Sharapova who laboured to a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over Richel Hogenkamp. Sharapova was down 0-3 in the deciding set against Hogenkamp before winning 6 straight games to avoid a shock loss. Sharapova produced a better performance in the second round as she defeated Donna Vekic 7-5 6-4, the Russian was notably more solid at the important moments in this match.

The only previous match between the pair took place in a Fed Cup tie in 2015, Sharapova won that match 6-3 6-4 on a hard court in Prague. Much has changed since then, can Pliskova reverse that result?

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Maria Sharapova vs. Richel Hogenkamp, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇷🇺 (28) Maria Sharapova vs. 🇳🇱 (Q) Richel Hogenkamp

Maria Sharapova makes her 2018 Roland Garros debut with an opening round clash against Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, this will be Sharapova’s first appearance in Paris since 2015. Sharapova, a two-time former champion in Paris brings good form into this year’s event, the Russian is one of few multiple-time champions in the draw and will be confident she can feature deep into the tournament.

Maria Sharapova of Russia practices ahead of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sharapova arrives in Paris with confidence on her side, something she has lacked ever since her return from a doping ban. In recent times Sharapova reached the quarter-finals in Madrid and the semi-finals in Rome. Importantly Sharapova claimed numerous wins over quality opponents, the Russian defeated Buzarnescu, Begu, Mladenovic, Barty, Cibulkova, Gavrilova and Ostapenko across Madrid and Rome. This is the best form Sharapova has shown since her return to the tour.

Hogenkamp will be competing in the main draw in Paris for a second time. Hogenkamp earned her spot in the main draw with 3 tough victories in the qualifying draw. Hogenkamp defeated Imanishi, Jabeur and Andreescu to qualify for the main draw. Interestingly Hogenkamp was seemingly suffering with an injury in her 3 set win over Jabeur but she rebounded strongly to defeat Jabeur in straight sets a day later and book a place in the main draw in Paris.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2015 and it ended in a commanding 6-3 6-1 win for Sharapova at the second round stage. Will this be another comfortable victory for Sharapova?

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Maria Sharapova vs. Kiki Bertens, Madrid QF Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, QF Preview
🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs. 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens

An intriguing quarter-final clash in Madrid sees Maria Sharapova and Kiki Bertens go head-to-head for the first time. Kiki Bertens continues to display her clay court pedigree, Bertens is one of the tour’s true clay court specialists and enters this match on a high after a big win over Caroline Wozniacki. Nevertheless Sharapova will not be intimated as Sharapova herself is very handy on the red dirt, Sharapova is a former champion in Madrid and will enter this match with a point to prove as she plays on the big stage of a big tournament for the first time in a while.

Both Sharapova and Bertens have progressed to the quarter-final stage in Madrid without dropping a set. Both have worked their ways through reasonably tough sections of the draw. Sharapova has claimed wins over Mihaela Buzarnescu, Irina-Camelia Begu and Kristina Mladenovic whilst Bertens beat Maria Sakkari, Anastasija Sevastova and Caroline Wozniacki on route to the final 8.

Sharapova and Bertens both enter this clash fresh off their best performances of the week. Sharapova defeated Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-4 whilst Bertens scored a big 6-2 6-2 win over the second seeded Caroline Wozniacki. This will be a battle between two players that posses huge power, albeit different types of power. The flat hitting of Sharapova against the heavy topspin of Bertens, who will prevail?

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Maria Sharapova vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Madrid R3 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, R3 Preview
🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Maria Sharapova and Kristina Mladenovic will renew hostilities when they meet at the third round stage of the Mutua Madrid Open. This is a big of grudge match, Mladenovic was one of the most vocal players in opposing Sharapova’s apparent lenient treatment and welcoming return to the tour after a doping suspension. The pair played out a tense match in Stuttgart last year in Sharapova’s return tournament and it was Mladenovic who came from a set down to win, can Sharapova get revenge in Madrid?

Maria Sharapova of Russia in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Maria Sharapova has advanced to the third round in Madrid without dropping a set. Sharapova claimed back-to-back wins over Romanian’s. beating Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4 6-1 and Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5 6-1. Sharapova’s wins were fairly similar, a tough opening set where the former Madrid champion seemingly broke the spirit of her opponents before running away with the match. Sharapova is playing some of the better tennis we have seen from her in 2018 across her first few matches this week, incredibly she won 19 straight points during the second set of her win over Begu.

Kristina Mladenovic has won back-to-back matches for the first time since Acapulco over 2 months ago. Mladenovic has good memories in Madrid having reached the final last year where she just fell short in an epic 3 set match against Simona Halep. Mladenovic is under pressure to defend those finalist points this year as she would like to remain in the top 30 and be seeded for Roland Garros which is just around the corner. Mladenovic started her 2018 Madrid campaign with a 7-5 6-0 win over CoCo Vandeweghe before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 4-6 6-3.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. The pair first met at Wimbledon way back in 2013 where Sharapova won in 2 tight sets, more recently it was Mladenovic who won 3-6 7-5 6-4 in Stuttgart last year.

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Naomi Osaka vs Maria Sharapova, Indian Wells R1 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, 🇺🇸🌴 Indian Wells R1 Preview
🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

The pick of the opening round matches at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open sees two-time former champion Maria Sharapova come up against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Sharapova, an exciting match-up between two extremely aggressive players. Osaka has already claimed some big victories in her young career, can she add Sharapova to her list of high profile scalps? A determined Sharapova will be keen to deny one the tour's brightest rising-stars.

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Naomi Osaka has been quite consistent of late as she continues to make her way up the rankings. Osaka arrives at the BNP Paribas Open on the back of a decent couple of weeks in the Middle East. Osaka successfully qualified for the main draw in Doha before succumbing in the second round to Anastasija Sevastova. Whilst more recently Osaka reached the quarter-finals in Dubai, solid results after reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open earlier this year. Osaka had a few good wins over Kristina Mladenovic and Anett Kontaveit in Dubai before being beaten by the eventual champion: Elina Svitolina. Osaka’s immense talent is undeniable, however her mentality is still an issue.

Maria Sharapova’s Middle Eastern swing certainly did no go to plan. Sharapova suffered a shock opening round exit at the Qatar Total Open, beaten by Monica Niculescu from a set and a break ahead. Sharapova would generally be disappointed with her start to the season, the former world number 1 has amassed a modest 5-3 win/loss record up until this point in the season. Sharapova will look to ignite her season in Indian Wells, a tournament where she has great memories having twice won the BNP Paribas Open.

It will be interesting to see how this first time meeting pans out. Osaka seemingly has the game to trouble Sharapova but does Osaka have the mentality to match the intensity and competitiveness of Sharapova?

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Angelique Kerber vs Maria Sharapova, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

The match of the tournament thus far sees two former champions at Melbourne Park go head-to-head at the third round stage when Angelique Kerber takes on Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Kerber is the form player on tour right now having won all 11 of her matches in 2018, the German will face a strong test from one of her biggest rivals when she meets a determined Sharapova on Saturday. The Russian enters this match confident after a great straight set win over Anastasija Sevastova. This will be the first meeting between the pair since 2015 where Kerber got the better of Sharapova in Stuttgart.

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Angelique Kerber has cruised through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park. The 21st seed started the week with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam before beating Donna Vekic 6-1 6-4. Kerber is looking very relaxed and confident on at the moment, reminiscent of the Kerber that dominated the tour in 2016. Kerber will face her first real test of the tournament in the third round when she comes up against Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova started her Australian Open campaign with an average performance, beating Tatjana Maria 6-1 6-4. Sharapova really stepped up her level in the next round, playing one of her best matches since her return from a doping suspension to defeat Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 7-6. Sharapova had some trouble closing the match, failing to serve out the match at 5-4. Sharapova rebounded strongly to convincingly win the second set tiebreak. A good victory for Sharapova given her struggles against Sevastova last year, Sharapova certainly improved on her previous performances against Sevastova.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 3 wins apiece. It was Kerber who had the better of Sharapova in their recent matches. Kerber beat Sharapova 7-6 4-6 6-4 at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2-6 7-5 6-1 in Stuttgart in 2015. Both of those matches were of a very high quality, these two usually bring out the best in each other.

Anastasija Sevastova vs Maria Sharapova, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R2 Preview
🇱🇻 (14) Anastasija Sevastova vs 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

A blockbuster second round clash in Melbourne sees the 14th seeded Anastasija Sevastova renew hostilities with Maria Sharapova. Sevastova and Sharapova played out a couple of epic encounters towards the end of the 2017 season, expect another close battle on Thursday. Sevastova defeated Sharapova at the fourth round stage of the U.S Open whilst the Russian got the better of Sevastova in a 3 set marathon at the China Open a few months later. The contrast in styles between these two makes for a fascinating contest.

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Anastasija Sevastova made a shaky start to her 2018 Australian Open campaign. Sevastova found herself down a set to Varvara Lepchenko but regained her composure nicely to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-2 win over the American. Sevastova has generally been in good form during the Australian summer, most notably in her run to the semi-finals at the Brisbane International. Sevastova’s serve has notably improved in 2018, the Latvian is serving a lot more aces and having more success behind her first serve in general, making her a more complete, dangerous player.

Maria Sharapova reached the second round with a routine 6-1 6-4 victory over Germany’s Tatjana Maria, Sharapova’s first round victory was her first victory at Melbourne Park since her infamous failed drug test at the event in 2016. Sharapova did what she had to do but was far from her best. It is worth noting that Sharapova was quite tentative to come forward to the net throughout the match, a sign that Sharapova is still low on confidence. Sharapova will need to be more brave against Sevastova or she will be punished.

The head-to-head record is split at 1 win apiece, both matches were late last year. Sevastova defeated Sharapova 5-7 6-4 6-2 at the U.S Open whilst Sharapova beat Sevastova 7-6 5-7 7-6 at the China Open. Clearly this is a tight match-up, expect another close match in Melbourne.