2013 Sony Open finalist Maria Sharapova is through to the third round in Miami, where she is scheduled to meet Lucie Safarova for the fourth time on the professional tour. Sharapova leads the head-to-head series 2-1, having won their two most recent encounters on the tour.
While the scoreline may tell a different story, it was not the easiest of match-ups for the fourth seed, who had to battle back facing 1-3, 0-30 down in the second set to close out the match 6-3, 6-4. Following her surprise exit from the BNP Paribas Open last week, it was a strong performance for the four-time Grand Slam champion, and she will look to continue that trend when she meets Lucie Safarova in the third round.
“She made me work extremely hard,” Sharapova said. “She’s a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, as you saw, and she made me hit a lot. She made me try to do too much in certain situations. Sometimes I felt like I was doing the right mistakes and sometimes I felt like I should have been more patient, but I guess those are the situations you want to build that match confidence again.”
The 26th seed Lucie Safarova defeated Vania King 6-3, 7-6(2) to set up the third round clash with Sharapova. The Czech native is capable of pressuring Sharapova, as she held a match point against Li Na at the Australian Open before eventually losing the match.
This is the fourth time Sharapova and Safarova will meet on the WTA tour, with Sharapova leading the series 2-1. She has won their two most recent encounters, with Safarova only winning their first meeting back in 2010. Sharapova also leads 1-0 on hard courts, winning in straight sets back in 2012. While this match has the potential of going three sets, an in-form Sharapova should be the favourite to win the match, yet rationality has certainly not been on her side as of late, and her third round loss last week will be bearing down on her. This will add intrigue to an already entertaining match-up.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets