After dropping just one game so far in 2015, Russian superstar Maria Sharapova already through to the quarter-final stage of the Brisbane International, where she will contest another enthralling encounter against a player that has tormented her over the past couple of years: Carla Suarez Navarro. This marks the fourth time they cross paths on the WTA tour, with Sharapova leading the head to head series 2-1.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was abundantly clear that Maria Sharapova was in no mood to make friends on court, as she stormed through the opening set 6-0 in just 23 minutes against Yaroslava Shvedova. She allowed Shvedova just one game in the second set to close out the contest just over half an hour later.
“To be honest, she’s capable of playing really tough tennis. She’s a big server, big strokes. Even though we haven’t played in a while, she does like to play the top players,” Sharapova said. “She swings quite freely. She has had good results against some good players in her career.”
Spain’s Cara Suarez Navarro needed three sets to dispatch Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. The contest lasted nearly two hours and 30 minutes and saw Navarro save 7 of 10 break point opportunities and withstand 10 aces from her opponent.
“It only gets tougher from here,” Sharapova said of her upcoming opponent. “I have a bit of a different opponent if Suárez Navarro wins the next one. A little bit of a different game. Gets a lot of balls back. Maybe a bit more of a physical match. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully I continue to improve and take it a step further this year.”
This marks the fourth time that these two competitors meet on the professional tour, with Sharapova leading the series 2-1. Her sole stain against the Spaniard was at the Rogers Cup last year in Montreal, where Sharapova lost to Navarro in three sets. While Sharapova has had less time on court, it may actually benefit her this time around against a potentially fatigued Navarro.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets