One of the most intriguing matches scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon at the Western & Southern Open is between former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova and the highest ranked teenager on the WTA Tour, Madison Keys. This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and will likely be an entertaining and competitive battle.
After six years away from Montreal, Maria Sharapova had her stay in the Frencj-Canadian city cut short when she suffered a surprising loss to Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. The Russian lost 2-6, 6-4, 2-6 and admit that she simply could not find her rhythm on court during the match. Although there were several rain delays, Sharapova refused to use that as an excuse and simply stated that she will be more prepared for Cincinnati.
Sharapova will certainly need all the preparation she can get as she has been dealt a difficult opening match in Ohio against the big-serving Madison Keys. The American began her week at the Premier level event with a commanding 6-2, 6-4 win over French No. 1 Alize Cornet.
“I don’t have many complaints about today,” Keys said. “I definitely played pretty well and stayed in my game for the most part. There are obviously a couple of things that I still want to work on and do better in the next round, but I’m pretty happy with today.”
Keys was particularly dominant on serve and Cornet simply had no answers for her during the entire match-up. Keys hopes she will be able to do the same thing when she meet the five-time Grand Slam winner on Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously she’s an amazing player and I have never played her before,” Keys said. “I’m excited. There shouldn’t be any pressure on me. I just have to try to play my best, and hopefully I’ll be really happy when I walk off the court.”
While Keys certainly has the game to defeat her Russian adversary, Sharapova is nothing if not resilient and it will take a remarkably consistent performance from the American to close out the win. Keys may take the opening set but I believe Sharapova will rally back to secure the victory in the decider.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets