After five months away from the tour, Maria Sharapova is into her first quarter-final of the season after picking up a walkover win in her second round encounter to set up a quarter-final clash with Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. This marks the third ever meeting between the two athletes, with Sharapova leading the head-to-head 2-0.
A few days have passed since world no. 4 Maria Sharapova stepped out on court for her first professional encounter in five months, yet her shoulder is yet to cause her any trouble as she picked up a dominant victory over Caroline Garcia in the opening round and received a walkover in her second match against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. The Russian only lost three games in her opening match and the second round walkover will allow her time to rest up and prepare for what is likely to be her toughest test to date in the Brisbane draw.
Kanepi earned an impressive straight sets victory over Carla Suareznavarro, dropping only four games in the entire match. Now ranked at No.30 in the world, the Estonian is hoping to make a comeback into the top 20 in the world and a win over Sharapova will give her the necessary momentum ahead of the Australian Open.
Having enlisted the help of new coach Sven Groeneveld, who has previously worked with Monica Seles and Mary Pierce, Sharapova is hoping to make a significant impact and that was clear in her first outing in Brisbane as she admit that she had ‘goosebumps’ following the match. She leads Kanepi 2-0 in the head-to-head, both in straight sets and will likely earn another strong victory tomorrow afternoon to reach the final four in Brisbane.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets