Roland Garros, R1 Preview
?? (28) Maria Sharapova vs. ?? (Q) Richel Hogenkamp
Maria Sharapova makes her 2018 Roland Garros debut with an opening round clash against Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, this will be Sharapova’s first appearance in Paris since 2015. Sharapova, a two-time former champion in Paris brings good form into this year’s event, the Russian is one of few multiple-time champions in the draw and will be confident she can feature deep into the tournament.
Sharapova arrives in Paris with confidence on her side, something she has lacked ever since her return from a doping ban. In recent times Sharapova reached the quarter-finals in Madrid and the semi-finals in Rome. Importantly Sharapova claimed numerous wins over quality opponents, the Russian defeated Buzarnescu, Begu, Mladenovic, Barty, Cibulkova, Gavrilova and Ostapenko across Madrid and Rome. This is the best form Sharapova has shown since her return to the tour.
Hogenkamp will be competing in the main draw in Paris for a second time. Hogenkamp earned her spot in the main draw with 3 tough victories in the qualifying draw. Hogenkamp defeated Imanishi, Jabeur and Andreescu to qualify for the main draw. Interestingly Hogenkamp was seemingly suffering with an injury in her 3 set win over Jabeur but she rebounded strongly to defeat Jabeur in straight sets a day later and book a place in the main draw in Paris.
The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2015 and it ended in a commanding 6-3 6-1 win for Sharapova at the second round stage. Will this be another comfortable victory for Sharapova?