Wimbledon QF: (4) Maria Sharapova vs Coco Vandeweghe
The first quarter-final on Centre Court sees former champion Maria Sharapova take on first time quarter-finalist Coco Vandeweghe. This promises to be an explosive match between two massive hitters of the ball and two aggressive competitors.
Maria Sharapova has strolled into the quarter-finals at SW19, reaching the last eight at the Championships for the first time since 2011. Sharapova is yet to drop a set and has barely raised a sweat in her opening four matches.
Maria’s toughest match was against Zarina Diyas in the fourth round. Maria thumped Diyas in Melbourne earlier this year, however this match was far more competitive. The former champion was very up and down, needing multiple set points to close out the first set and having to come from a break down to win the second set, eventually securing a 6-4 6-4 victory.
Maria’s draw has been extremely favourable, on paper that easy draw continues in the quarter-finals when she comes up against the unseeded Coco Vandeweghe. However, Vandeweghe should provide Maria with her greatest challenge of the tournaments thus far. The American is playing great tennis and enters this match with nothing to lose.
Prior to this tournament Coco Vandeweghe had never progressed past the second round of a Grand Slam. The big serving American now finds herself in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon courtesy of a sequence of upset victories over seeded opponents.
Vandeweghe has played stunning tennis, defeating Karolina Pliskova, Sam Stosur and Lucie Safarova on route to the quarter-finals. All three of those victories were convincing straight set wins. Vandeweghe seems to be getting better and better each round, her victory over Safarova was her most impressive of the tournament.
Vandeweghe reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6 7-6 win over Safarova, the young American outplayed her more experienced opponents in the critical moments. In a match with very few breaks of serve, Safarova served for the first set, however Coco would break back and go on to dominate the first set tiebreaker. Vandeweghe was braver in both tiebreaks, upstaging Safarova.
Vandeweghe’s serve has been her biggest weapon this week, blasting 37 aces past her first four opponents. Breaking Coco’s serve has proved to be extremely difficult, The American has been broken just 4 times. If Coco serves well again on Tuesday, another upset could be on the cards.
This will be the first career meeting between Vandeweghe and Sharapova. Maria will enter this match as the strong favourite given her far greater experience. However, there really isn’t much to separate these two. Both ladies have big games, Coco’s serve is greater whilst Maria is more solid from the baseline. If Vandeweghe handles the occasion well and continues to play at a high level then she has a real chance in this one.
The American’s tougher draw in the lead up to this match could be an advantage. Coco has already beaten three tough opponents, playing and extremely high level to do so. Maria hasn’t really been challenged and will need to significantly raise her level in this one.
I actually like Coco’s chances in this match. Coco enters this match full of confidence with nothing to lose, no one expects to win this match. Maria’s preparation for Wimbledon wasn’t great, this will be a big step up for her, she is certainly vulnerable.
Prediction: Coco Vandeweghe to defeat Maria Sharapova in 3 sets