(31) Zarina Diyas vs (2) Maria Sharapova
After surviving an almighty scare in her second round Victory over Alexandra Panova, Maria Sharapova faces Zarina Diyas in the third round.
After winning the first set 6-1 over Alexandra Panova, Sharapova looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory on Rod Laver Arena. However Panova started to play ridiculously well to push a wayward Sharapova to her limits. The second seed was forced to save two match points as she eventually scraped through 7-5 in the third.
At 5-4 with Panova serving for the match, Maria came up with some outrageous winners, painting the lines to deny Panova a famous upset victory.
Zarina Diyas was also forced to work extremely hard for her second round victory on Wednesday. The Kazakh came from a set down to defeat Anna Schmiedlova 3-6 6-2 8-6. It was a gutsy performance in extremely tough conditions, Diyas was in trouble numerous times during the final set but eventually pulled through to set up a clash with Sharapova.
This will be the first career meeting between Maria and the Kazakh rising star. On paper this looks like a straightforward victory for Maria, however her performance on Wednesday showed that she is indeed vulnerable.
Sharapova should have too much power and experience for Diyas on this occasion. Diyas hasn’t played many big matches like this, in fact this could well be the biggest match of her young career. A big opportunity for Zarina to show the world what she’s got.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Zarina Diyas in straight sets