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.
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?