Top seed Maria Sharapova is back in action this week at the Paris Open, where she will begin her run in a second round contest against world No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova. This marks the tenth time these two competitors meet on the professional tour, with the Sharapova vs Hantuchova Head to Head standing at 8-1, including five consecutive wins dating back to the 2006 Australian Open.
After missing the 2013 US Open due to a shoulder injury, world No. 5 Maria Sharapova remained sidelined from the tour until her official return to professional competition at the beginning of the season. Arriving in Brisbane for her first ever match at the tournament, Sharapova earned victories over Caroline Garcia, Ashleigh Barty (walkover) and Kaia Kanepi before losing to world No. 1 Serena Williams in the semi-final stage. While she may not have been victorious at the event, she left the tournament satisfied with her recovery and her performance after five months away from the tour.
Carrying her confidence over to Melbourne, Sharapova earned victories over Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Karin Knapp and Alize Cornet before losing to eventual runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in a surprising upset. The loss brought her ranking down to world No. 5, with Radwanska and Li Na ahead of her following their respective Australian Open performances. Now, the 2012 quarter-finalist in Paris will be looking to shorten the gap between herself and her fellow Top 5 competitors.
Daniela Hantuchova has had a turbulent start to her 2014 season. She suffered first round exits from both the Brisbane International and the Apia International in Sydney before arriving in Melbourne, where she reached the third round of the tournament before succumbing to Serena Williams.This week, she earned just her third victory this season, when she defeated Erakovic, 6-3, 3-0 before the world No. 48 chose to retire from the contest.
A former quarter-finalist in Paris, she will be looking to earn an upset victory over the Russian No. 1 to avenge her previous losses.
This marks the tenth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Sharapova leading the series 8-1. The Russian has also reeled off five consecutive victories dating back to the 2006 Australian Open. Apart from her straight sets victory over Sharapova in 2004, Hantuchova has only ever won two sets off Maria over the past decade, emphasizing the world No. 5’s dominance in this particular series.
You can also check out the Head to Head on Matchstat: Sharapova vs Hantuchova H2H matches
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets