Following a dominant display in her opening round contest against Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Sharapova now arrives at the quarter-finals in Paris, where she will meets Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens for a spot in the final four of the tournament. This will mark the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Sharapova leading the head-to-head series 3-0.
World No. 5 Sharapova cruised into the quarter-finals with a dominant victory over Hantuchova in the opening round. After receiving a bye through to the second round of the tournament, Sharapova lost only one game in her entire second round match, leading her comfortably to a scheduled encounter against Flipkens. Sharapova hit 10 aces, saved 7 break points against here and secured six of her own en route to her victory. She has also has the benefit of a day’s rest heading into her next match, while her opponent has not been dealt the same advantage due to the scheduling.
The win was Sharapova’s first since a surprise fourth round exit from the Australian Open, when Dominika Cibulkova defeated her before eventually reach the finals in Melbourne. Her early exit dropped her to world No. 5 in the ranks and she will now look to improve upon her recent results and move back into the Top 3 in the rankings.
Kirsten Flipkens arrived in Paris and began her week with a three-set victory over Mona Barthel before following up with a dominant display against Yvonne Meusburger to earn entry into the quarter-finals. She hit one ace and managed to secure all four of her break point opportunities to score a 6-1, 6-3 victory to set up an encounter with the Russian No. 1.
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Sharapova leads the head-to-head series with a perfect 3-0 record dating back to their first encounter in 2003. Since then, Sharapova defeated Flipkens at the 2010 French Open and again at the 2013 Australian Open, both times in straight sets. Considering Flipkens is yet to snatch a single set against Sharapova in their series, it is doubtful that she will manage that this week in Paris.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets