The second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix continues to bring with it some enthralling match-ups, as this time three-time defending champion Maria Sharapova begins her campaign in Stuttgart with another encounter against Germany’s Angelique Kerber. It will marks the seventh meeting between the two competitors, as they have played on every surface in tennis. Sharapova leads the head-to-head series 4-2.
The Russian superstar was most recently seen in Miami, where she lost in straight sets to Gavrilova. The Russian wildcard took command of the contest early on, as she found a break while up 4-3 and closed out the opening set in one hour and eight minutes. Sharapova has not played a match since her surprising loss to Gavrilova and she later spent some time on the sidelines with a leg injury. Despite the turbulent couple of weeks, she is confident that she will be able to perform at this week’s event, where she is the defending champion.
‘Despite everything, it’s always a nice feeling to come back to an event where you’ve had a really good record. where you’ve had some great matches, great memories,’ Sharapova told the WTA website. ‘Some of the best matches of my career have been played on that court. But every year you come back to a tournament you start from the very beginning, and that’s what I’ll be doing this year to try and defend my title.’
The Russian will first come up against Angelique Kerber, who defeated Alexa Glatch in straight sets to set up the second round thriller. She defeated her American adversary 6-2, 7-5.
Sharapova and Kerber have crossed paths on six previous occasions on the professional circuit, with the Russian sensation leading the series 4-2. They have also met on all surfaces in tennis, including carpet in Paris. Kerber won their most recent meeting at last year’s Wimbledon Championships but has never defeated Maria on clay, including their Stuttgart meeting back in 2013. As a three-time defending champion at this event, Sharapova will look to confidently extend her win streak to 3-0 on clay against Kerber.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets