Following strong performances in their quarter-final match-ups, Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet for the second time on the professional tour to complete for a spot in the Paris Open finals. The head-to-head record stands at 1-0, favouring Sharapova.
World No. 5 Sharapova stormed into the quarter-finals with a dominant victory over Hantuchova in her opening round match. After receiving a bye through to the second round of the tournament, Sharapova lost only one game in the entire match and hit 10 aces, saved 7 break points against here and secured six of her own en route to her victory.Following a day’s rest, Sharapova took on Kirsten Flipkens for a spot in the semi-finals in Paris, defeating the Belgian athlete 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes. Sharapova hit two aces and secured 5 out of 7 breaks of serve but still managed five double faults in the match, which may trouble her against her upcoming opponent, world No. 26 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Prior to her fantastic upset victory over Kerber, Pavlyuchenkova had two impressive outings since arriving in Paris this week. While she struggled at times with her serve against opening round opponent Schiavone , making six double-faults, she also hit four aces and broke the Italian five times to seal the match. She had less trouble in her second round match against Carla Suarez Navarro but still required three sets to secure the victory and reach her first quarter-final of the year. She would later encounter world No. 9 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final four and managed to scrape by in three sets, a win that also gave her the lead in their head-to-head series 3-2 (3-1 on hard courts).
The former world No. 13 will now face fellow Russian Maria Sharapova in the semi-final stage of the event. This marks just the second time these two competitors will meet on the tour, with Sharapova earning the victory in the 2010 Cincinnati semi-finals in three sets. Sharapova is still trying to regain her old form following her shoulder injury and this may be the opportunity Pavlyunchenkova needs to topple the world No. 5. It will not be easy but considering her victory over Kerber, it is quite possible.
Check the H2H matches also here: Sharapova vs Pavlyuchenkova Head to Head
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets