Caroline Garcia vs. Maria Sharapova, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
?? (6) Caroline Garcia vs. ?? (wc) Maria Sharapova

The pick of the opening round matches in the Stuttgart sees the 6th seeded Caroline Garcia come up against 3-time former champion: Maria Sharapova. Garcia has not beaten Sharapova in her 4 previous attempts but this match looms as her greatest opportunity to finally secure a victory over the Russian. Sharapova has really struggled in 2018, persistent injury problems have meant that she has played very little tennis in 2018.

Caroline Garcia has not been able to replicate her stunning 2017 season ending form in 2018. However, the Frenchwoman is steadily building and will look to take her game to the next level over the coming months on clay, a surface that she is very dangerous on. Garcia started her clay season a few weeks ago in Charleston where she suffered a disappointing third round exit at the hands of Alize Cornet. Garcia has reasonable experience in Stuttgart having played the event on a few occasions, her most successful result was a run to the quarter-finals in 2015.

Maria Sharapova has only played in two tournaments since her third Australian Open defeat at the hands of Angelique Kerber 3 months ago. Sharapova was beaten by Niculescu in the opening round in Doha and smashed by Naomi Osako in the opening round in Indian Wells. Sharapova has not been able to achieve any continuity in her game since her return from a doping ban due to niggling injuries but she will head into this event with confidence given her previous success in Stuttgart where she won the title 3 years in a row between 2012 and 2014.

Sharapova heads into this match with a commanding 4-0 H2H record over Garcia. The pair have played on two occasions on clay, on both occasions Garcia pushed Sharapova to a third set. Their most recent match was in Madrid where Sharapova won 6-2 4-6 7-5.

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