After breezing past her Spanish opponent on Thursday afternoon, Maria Sharapova finds herself two wins away from a first title of the season in 2015 at the Brisbane International. Her next challenger is world No. 28 Elina Svitolina, whom she has only encountered once before on the professional tour. Sharapova leads the head to head series 1-0.
Although this particular competitor has challenged her in the past, Sharapova had no trouble with Carla Suarez Navarro on Thursday, as she was able to breeze past the Spaniard 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semi-final stage of the event. The Sochi star only needed 68 minutes to close out their quickest encounter yet.
“We went back and forth with our victories in 2014 so I’m always a little bit aware of girls that I lose to,” Sharapova said after the match. “I certainly know that she’s capable of playing really well, though. She plays defense great and makes you hit a lot of balls. Especially on a slower court like here, you just don’t want to give her that much time to play her game. I thought I did a good job of that today.
“Maybe I made a little too many unforced errors in the beginning, but I finished strong.”
Sharapova’s next match-up is against one of the WTA tour’s rising stars Elina Svitolina, who rallied from a set down to upset third seed Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. This was the second time that the Ukrainian prospect managed to score an upset over her German foe.
“She’s a young girl that’s already in the Top 30 with a tremendous amount of potential, and someone you’ll be seeing in the top very soon,” Sharapova said. “She definitely has a good game. She’s an all-around player. It’ll be a tough match-up for me, but one that I’m looking forward to, actually.”
This marks just the second time that these two competitors cross paths on the professional tour, with Sharapova leading the series 1-0. The Russian’s victory took place last year in Beijing, where she defeated the Top 30 player 6-2, 6-2. While this could be a slightly more competitive match, it will likely still end in straight sets fr the top seed.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets