Maria Sharapova vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Preview – WTA Stuttgart 2014 Round 2

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Following her gruelling triple tiebreak match against Lucie Safarova, world No. 9 Maria Sharapova will now have another tough battle on her hands, as she is scheduled to meet Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Tournament. Pavlyuchenkova upset Sharapova earlier this year at the Paris Masters and will be looking to duplicate her efforts this week in Stuttgart. The head-to-head series is tied at 1-1. Check out the Sharapova vs Pavlyuchenkova Head to Head matches.

For the first time in her career,  sixth seed Maria Sharapova was forced to play a triple tiebreaker. The Russian former world No. 1 was well-matched when she faced Lucie Safarova on Tuesday afternoon, and had to weather the storm in the third set, when Lucie rallied back to force the tiebreaker. Safarova was particularly impressive in her resiliency, as she held serve throughout the opening set, and managed to jump out to 3-0 lead in the second set before letting Sharapova back into the match. The match lasted a total of 3 hours and 23 minutes, with Sharapova finally earning the 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-6(2).

“I think Lucie is an exceptional player,” Sharapova said. “She’s presented me a lot of challenges when we’ve played in the past, and going into the match today I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one.

“I could have returned better. But I think this was one of the best serving matches she’s played against me. She was finding the lines extremely well and mixing it up too, and it was hard to break her. But I’m really happy I was able to be the winner of this match. I was two points from losing.”

Quick Facts:

  • Sharapova needs to reach the semi-finals this week to retain her place in the Top 10,which she has been a part of since April 4, 2011.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had a much easier time in her match-up, as she defeated Latvian qualifier Diana Marcinkevica 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round in Stuttgart.

This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the series tied at 1-1. Pavlyuchenkova won their most recent encounter in Paris, where she rallied from a set down to beat Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-4. While she is clearly capable of beating the former world No. 1, Sharapova is a different animal on clay, which will be evident tomorrow afternoon.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets

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