Maria Sharapova is through to the third round of the China Open in Beijing, where she will encounter Carla Suarez Navarro in a rematch of their thrilling encounter in Montreal several months ago. The head to head series is tied at 1-1 with their upcoming meeting expected to serve as their rubber match.
Following her dominant showing against Kaia Kanepi, Maria Sharapova routed WTA Rising Star Elina Svitolina 6-2,6-2 to reach the third round of the tournament. The Russian superstar won 68% of her first service points and converted 7 of 9 break points to close out the contest in 1 hour and 25 minutes.
“It was great to have a good start to the match. She’s had a lot of success this year and had a good tournament last week, so it was a tough second round opponent and I’m really happy to get through,” Sharapova said.
“She made me hit a lot of balls – she’s a really good mover from side to side – so I tried to open up the court a little bit when I could. Even though the score wasn’t close, a lot of the games went to deuce and it was tough at times out there.”
Sharapova’s next opponent will be Carla Suárez Navarro, who survived a rocky second set to upset the Italian No. 14 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
This marks the third time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with the head-to-head series split at 1-1 record following the Spaniard’s staggering victory over Sharapova in Montreal two months ago. Following that epic clash, it will be difficult to gauge the likely result of this encounter. Sharapova will be the favourite yet Navarro is more than capable of backing up her previous win if she plays with similar form.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets