Russian superstar Maria Sharapova will commence her post-US Open season on Monday afternoon at the inaugural Wuhan Open, where she will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova for the 11th time on the professional tour. Sharapova leads the head-to-head series 6-4, but has not faced her fellow Russian in over three years.
Coming off a fourth round exit at the US Open to eventual runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova will be looking to rack up as many ranking points as possible over the remaining weeks on the tour since she was sidelined throughut this portion of the season last year with a shoulder injury.
Sharapova reached the semi-finals or better of seven tournaments so far this year, including two clay court titles in Madrid and Stuttgart and before culminating with her second French Open title in dramatic fashion with a victory over Simona Halep. Since then she has not added to her title list but has managed to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Next for Sharapova is a second round meeting against Svetlana Kuznetsova, who lost her only post-US Open match to Rising WTA Star Belina Bencic in the opening round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open. She is riding a 3-match losing streak that stretches back to her third round loss to Ana Ivanovic in Cincinnati.
This marks the 11th time that Sharapova and Kuznetsova will meet on the WTA Tour, and the first time in over 3 years. Sharapova leads the series 6-4, including the most recent two outings. She will likely make that three consecutive wins on Monday afternoon.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets