Following their thrilling quarter-final match-up at the French Open this year, Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza clashed again in Sharapova’s first match back in Montreal in six years. This match-up featured a similar story, with the Spaniard taking the opening set and a break lead before Sharapova was able to turn things around in a big way to storm through the final third of the match. The shift happened in the second set when Sharapova won five games to come back from a break down at 2-1. The third set ended in a 6-1 blowout.
“It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been in a competitive atmosphere,” Sharapova said. “It’s always quite different than practice no matter how much you train. Once you step on the court, you feel the energy from the crowd and you get inspired by everything, but you’re ultimately a bit rusty. I’m just happy that I got through that and won today because I had a very tough opponent.”
Sharapova hit 9 aces, saved 8 break point attempts and won 70% of her first service points to secure the win in 2 hours and 11 minutes. She will next face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, who also needed three sets to defeat lucky loser Sílvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“She’s a different type of opponent than I played today,” Sharapova said. “She has a little bit more variety, a one-handed backhand, uses her slice extremely well, and also moves around the court quite well. I expect a physical match from her. You never quite know what you’re going to get, especially when you haven’t faced an opponent in a while. I’m looking forward to it.”
This marks the second time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Shaarpova leading the head-to-head series with a 1-0 record following her victory over the Spaniard at Indian Wells last year. It is hard to see this match going any differently, as even when Sharapova was far from her best, she still managed to pull herself together for the win.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets