(2) Maria Sharapova vs (7) Eugenie Bouchard
A dream matchup between the tours glamour girls has eventuated, Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard will go head to head for a spot in the Semi-Finals at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
Maria Sharapova comes into this match with momentum and full of confidence. The second seed has won seven consecutive matches to begin the season and has steamrolled her way through her last two matches in Melbourne.
After surviving an almighty scare in the second round, where the second seed was forced to save two match points, Maria has rebounded exceptionally well. Sharapova crushed Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 in the third round before producing a dominant 6-3 6-0 victory over Peng Shuai to advance to the quarter-finals.
Maria played a very clean, tactically smart match against Peng. Maria hit 27 winners to just 15 unforced errors. Successfully wrong footing Peng on numerous occasions, exposing her lack of agility.
Eugenie Bouchard will face her first real test of the tournament on Tuesday when she comes up against the second seed, her first seeded opponent of the week. Bouchard dropped her first set of the week in a less than convincing 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu in the fourth round.
Bouchard absolutely cruised through the opening set, taking full advantage of her opponents nervy start. Begu finally got going midway through the second set, opening her shoulders and taking full advantage of the Canadian’s weak second serve. Begu was good enough to send the match to a decider. Bouchard regained her composure in the deciding, avoiding a disastrous loss.
Maria Sharapova has a perfect 3-0 head to head record over the Canadian. Their most recent meeting took place in the Semi-Finals at Roland Garros last year. Sharapova came from a set down to prevail 4-6 7-5 6-2. Genie came extremely close to closing that match out in straight sets, however it’s difficult to see her pushing Maria on this occasion.
Maria’s form leading into this match has been far more impressive, apart from her second round victory over Panova. Conversely, Bouchard seems to have some big weaknesses in her game right now. The most obvious weakness is her serve, especially her second serve.
This is a good matchup for Maria, she should prevail rather comfortably.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets