The pick of Friday’s matches in the women’s side is the blockbuster between two former champions in Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki. Last year’s winner is marginally favoured to beat the 2008 champion in their first meeting since 2015. Sharapova leads the head to head 6-4 but is far removed from the player that was a fixture in the top 10 prior to her suspension. Check out the Wozniacki vs Sharapova H2H matches.
Neither woman has encountered any trouble in the opening rounds but Sharapova in particular has had a stress free week to date. She didn’t drop a game against Harriet Dart before losing just three in a win over Rebecca Peterson. Not the toughest of opponents admittedly but the Russian is pleased with her work so far. “I’ve been happy with the way I focused throughout the match, kept my concentration. It’s not easy to start one match at 11 a.m., then 48 hours later, a little bit more, to start one that’s just before midnight.” she said. “So I’m happy that I’m able to come out into a match like this and say, I’ve done this before, I know the drill, I know how this goes, I’m ready, and I need to step it up. No matter what my opponent brings today, I have to get it done.
Wozniacki cruised past Johanna Larsson to book her place in round three, ensuring there would not be an embarrassing early exit for the defending champion. “I thought it was a fine match. I think I started off, played well in the first set. I think she stepped it up a little bit in the second set. I think I served well.” she said. A strong serving performance saw her face (and save) only two break points, holding firm behind her second serve also.
“It’s always a physical match. She gets a lot of balls back. A great retriever of the game. Just incredibly solid. Does a lot of things well.” Sharapova said on the matchup. 2018 was a struggle for Sharapova by her impeccably high standards and this feels like the kind of match where she would eventually be worn down before succumbing to defeat. Wozniacki still has a lot to prove despite last year’s title and this would be a statement win, even if the Russian is not what she once was.
Prediction – Caroline Wozniacki in three sets