Following a pair of straightforward matches in their second round showings, fifth seed Maria Sharapova and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will meet for a spot in the quarter-finals of the United States Open on Sunday. This marks the eighth time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the Sharapova vs Wozniacki Head to Head standing at 5-2.
While five of the top eight seeds in the ladies draw have already exited the tournament, Sharapova managed to avoid the exodus on Friday night when she defeated Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-4. The contest was far closer than the scoreline would suggest, as Lisicki was one point away from a 4-1 lead in the second set before surrendering the match to her resilient opponent.
“Well, against a big server and an aggressive player like her, it’s sometimes just a matter of a few points,” the Russian said regarding her match and what made the difference. “Return is obviously very important. I thought I did a good job of getting some of her good serves back and making her hit an extra ball. Of course, it’s always tense because she’s capable of playing really good tennis. In the end I was just happy I was able to break her back in that game.”
Sharapova is aware that the task will only get harder in her next match, as she will face Caroline Wozniacki, who has been in fine form all summer long.
“She’s having a really good summer so far. She’s really raising her level to where she wants it to be. Although we haven’t played in a while, we have played against each other many times. No secrets on our games. We’ve been on the tour for many years, so I expect a tough match, a physical match. She always makes you hit a lot of balls, gets a lot of balls back. Yeah, it’s going to be a tough match.”
The tenth seed beat No.18 seed Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 6-2 to set up her third round match-up against Sharapova. It marked her third straight sets victory in a row since arriving in New York and she will look to follow up with another strong performance against one of the second highest seed remaining in the draw.
“Yeah, I think every match I kind of get into a better groove out there and I’m playing better. It’s nice to be through to the fourth round again. It’s going to be another tough one, but I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to play another match.”
Apart from a 5-2 lead in the head-to-head series, Sharapova has also won their last three encounters dating back to 2011. She is 3-2 against Wozniacki on hard courts and 2-0 against her on clay. Only two of their meetings have ever gone to three sets, both of which the Russian won as well. This could mark their mot competitive meeting to date, as Sharapova has been prone to shaky starts this tournament, while Wozniacki has been in fine form leading up to this encounter.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets