Maria Sharapova vs Jennifer Brady, Stanford R1 Preview

#BOTWClassic, ??? Stanford R1 Preview + Prediction
(wc) ?? Maria Sharapova vs ?? Jennifer Brady

Maria Sharapova will make her much anticipated return to competitive action on Monday evening at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. Sharapova will come up against Jennifer Brady in the opening round in the Californian desert. Sharapova created a heap of controversy in her return from suspension during the clay court swing, unfortunately for Sharapova her return was cut short as a thigh injury derailed her Roland Garros and grass swing campaigns. When Sharapova did manage to compete, she was still playing at a high enough level to suggest she will soon be competing for the biggest titles once again and looms as one of the main contenders this week in Stanford.

Maria Sharapova of Russia practices at the 2017 Bank of the West Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Sharapova showed promising signs in her return to competitive action during the European clay swing, Sharapova made it to the semi-finals in her first tournament back in Stuttgart but did suffer a disappointing early round loss to Eugenie Bouchard in Madrid and was forced to retire early in Rome. Since Rome, Sharapova has been recovering from a thigh injury. Sharapova is seemingly over all injury problems and has been training hard for the North American hard court season. It will be interesting to see where Sharapova’s level is at over the coming days in Stanford.

Jennifer Brady’s recent form has been average. The American has done little to say that her run to the second week at the Australia Open earlier this year wasn’t a fluke. Back on the hard courts and back in the United States, perhaps Brady can again cause a few surprises as she did at the Australian Open earlier this year. 

This will be the first career meeting between Sharapova and Brady. Sharapova hasn’t played a competitive match for months but I still suspect she will be far too good for Brady. Sharapova is the ultimate competitor and she proved earlier this year that she is still a force to be reckoned with, even off little competitive action. Brady will be pushed back and rushed in this match-up, something she is unlikely to enjoy, expect a determined Sharapova to make a statement in her return to action on Monday night with a convincing victory.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Jennifer Brady in 2 sets

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