?? MWTC Abu Dhabi, preview + prediction
?? Maria Sharapova vs. ?? Ajla Tomljanovic
Maria Sharapova will take on Ajla Tomljanovic in the annual Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi. The ATP event is the star attraction with a field of 6 players including the top 2 ranked players, meanwhile, Sharapova and Tomljanovic will represent the WTA in a standalone exhibition match on Thursday evening.
There are no ranking points on the line here but this is an important match for both Sharapova and Tomljanovic, for different reasons. Sharapova won just 8 tour level matches last year, just 2 during the second half of the year, therefore every victory is important for Sharapova to gain confidence. Tomljanovic had one of her best seasons in 2019 and is seemingly well placed to perform even better in 2020. The problem for Tomljanovic has been not performing well in the biggest events and against the best players. A win over Sharapova, albeit in an exhibition match would boost the confidence of Tomljanovic heading into the new year.
Tomljanovic is ‘looking forward to facing Sharapova for the first time, an opponent she has always wanted to play.’ Indeed this is a good opportunity for Tomljanovic to play against one of the games biggest names. Sharapova is certainly past her prime and this is just an exhibition match but a win over Sharapova could be vital for Tomljanovic, a player who has rarely managed to beat the biggest names in tennis.
I’ll side with Tomljanovic here. This is surprisingly the first even meeting between the pair at any level. It is Tomljanovic who is in the prime of her career at the moment and I expect her to climb even higher in 2020. Sharapova is merely a novelty at this stage of her career. Tomljanovic is in better shape and more match tough, even during the off season. Expect Tomljanovic to ultimately be too solid for the Russian.