Following impressive performances all week, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will cross paths in the final of the Brisbane International – their third ever meeting in a tournament final and their fifth meeting overall in the past 365 days. Of their 13 encounters throughout the years, Sharapova leads the head to head series 9-4 and will look to add to that figure on Saturday night against the Serbian star.
Matched against one of the WTA tour’s rising stars, five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova dispatched Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 in 84 minutes of court time. Sharapova struck six aces, just one double fault and won 70% of her firsts service points to close out the match with relative ease. She was, however, faced with a difficult finish to the match, as Svitolina saved several match points with remarkable defence before bowing out to the Russian.
Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic overcame Varvara Lepchenko 7-6(2), 6-4 to set up her first final in Brisbane. It was far from easy for the Serb, as she had difficulty crossing the finish line in the opening set but pulled herself together for the tiebreaker. She later allowed Lepchenko to work her way from a 5-1 deficit before finishing the match.
“Definitely your heart was raising a little bit, especially that it was really becoming a battle. Like I said, all the way up to that point, even though I was 5-1 up, still felt like a battle all the way through,” Ivanovic said. “I really tried to take it one point at a time and do the things that I’ve been working on and practicing and try not think too much about the result.”
Ivanovic and Sharapova have met four times in the last year and have split the series 2-2. One of those matches (Cincinnati) even featured some controversy before Ivanovic won the contest. However, in their most recent meeting, Sharapova won the match 6-0, 6-4 to reach the Beijing final. Given her determination this week, it is likely that the Russian will be closing in on her first title in Brisbane.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets