A fantastic quarter-final match-up is scheduled to take place on Friday afternoon, as top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and defending champion Maria Sharapova clash for the 11th time on the WTA tour. While Radwanska is the No. 1 seed in Stuttgart this week, Sharapova holds a dominant 8-2 lead in the head-to-head series, including a 2-0 record on clay. It will be interesting to see if an in-form Radwanska is capable of toppling a stumbling Sharapova for the first time on the red dust. Check out the Sharapova vs Radwanska Head to Head matches.
World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska began her week in Stuttgart with a second round match-up against Italy’s Roberta Vinci. It was a typical affair, as the Polish No. 1 dominated the encounter, hit four aces, and eventually won 6-3, 6-2.
Aga has had a strong season so far in 2014, having reached the semi-final at the Australian Open and the final at Indian Wells, which boosted her ranking to its current high of No. 3. While she is coming off a disappointing loss to Alize Cornet in the Katowice semi-final, she rebounded with a strong 2-0 weekend for her Fed Cup team, and will be looking to rebound with a strong showing in Stuttgart.
Radwanska is not defending l points at this event, as did not take part in it last year. She did however reach the final four in both 2011-12, losing to Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka respectively.
After her first match lasted a total of 3 hours and 23 minutes, and ending with a historic 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-6(2), Maria Sharapova was gifted with a slightly easier second round encounter against Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian took the opening set comfortably 6-4, before rushing to a 4-1 lead in the second set. While Pavlyuchenkova would attempt to mount a comeback, she would only manage one break back before Sharapova one again broke and served out the match 6-3.
Sharapova is aware of the task at hand against Radwanska, particularly since the in-form Pole has risen to No. 3 in the world, and because the two competitors have not met on clay since the 2011 French Open.
“Well, Agnieszka is No.3 in the world and obviously someone who’s been playing extremely well to be in that position,” Sharapova said. “And I love these kinds of challenges. We’ve played each other many times, and there are certainly no secrets about each other’s games. But I don’t think we’ve played on clay in a while, so I look forward to improving all aspects of my game because she’s playing well.”
- Sharapova needs to defeat Radwanska and reach the semi-finals this week to retain her place in the Top 10, which she has been a part of since April 4, 2011.
This marks the 11th time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and the first time since the 2012 WTA Championships in Istanbul. They are 1-1 in their last two matches, but Sharapova holds the overall lead 8-2, including a perfect 2-0 record on clay. Their last clay court encounter was at the 2011 French Open, which Sharapova won in straight sets. While she is certainly the underdog heading into tomorrows match, Sharapova has the luxury of facing Aga on clay, which is a surface she is very comfortable on. While the Polish No. 1 will be looking to pounce on Friday, it wil be Sharapova who will weather the storm for a three set come-from-behind victory.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets