Maria Sharapova will attempt to right the wrongs that have occurred in her pre-French Open warm-up title defenses this season when she begins her Rome campaign on Tuesday afternoon against Jarmila Gajdosova. This marks the third time that the two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour with Sharapova leading the head-to-head series 2-0.
Following her surprise exit at the start of the Stuttgart Open this year, a tournament where she was the defending champion, Sharapova was ousted in the semi-final round in Madrid at the hands of Svetlana Kuznetsova. It was a surprising defeat given that she had beaten Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki to reach that stage of the tournament.
Given that she is coming off a recent injury, Sharapova is confident she will get back on the horse soon:
“Yeah, I think about ten days ago I think I started from somewhere around zero. I’ve come to a good stage; not the best one. It’s been a while. I was just thinking it’s been a while since I played five matches in six days. I think it was back in January. So it’s great to be back in that position, but it takes a lot more to continue that. I have to build on that. I have to build being able to step up every day, because it doesn’t get easier. It gets tougher.”
Jarmila Gajdosova reached the second round in Rome with a three-set victory against Elena Vesnina. She struck eight aces, won 66% of her first service points and converted six break points to win the match 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(14) in two hours and nine minutes. It was an impressive win for the Slovakian native, as she rallied from a set down and fought through an incredibly tight third set tiebreak to get the job done in the end.
This marks the third time that Sharapova and Gajdosova will cross paths on the professional tour and it is likely a contest that will favour Sharapova, as she works her way back to top form.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets