A contest pitting two Russians is scheduled to take place in the second round of the Brisbane International on Tuesday afternoon, as world No. 2 Maria Sharapova and fellow countrywoman Yaroslava Shvedova are scheduled to meet for the second time on the professional tour. Sharapova leads the head-to-head series 1-0 and will look to remain undefeated against the Moscow-native.
Maria Sharapova took part in a fantastc 2014 season – a year that saw her return from shoulder surgery and lift her fifth Grand Slam title at the French Open. Apart from simply returning to the professional circuit at full health after shoulder surgery – Sharapova’s only initial goal for the season – the Russian superstar was able to achieve far for during several memorable runs this year. She lifted titles in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Beijing, apart from her second French Open title, all of which boosted her to world No. 2 in the rankings.
She will now look to maintain that momentum throughout the new year, starting with the challenging draw at the Brisbane International.
“It’s one of the toughest fields in the three tournaments that are going on around the globe for the women’s tour this week,” Sharapova commented. “You always want to start off with the toughest competition. It’s a tournament I love coming back to – I tried to play here for many years and it was my first time on court here last year, so it’s great to be back. I had a wonderful experience.
“I’m looking forward to getting the year started on a good note.”
World No. 66 Yaroslava Shvedova began her season with a surprising upset victory over Germany’s Sabine Lisicki on Monday afternoon. After losing the first set 6-0, Shvedova rebounded in style to close out the contest 0-6, 7-5, 6-4. She will look to carry that confidence over to her second match of the season against Sharapova.
This marks the second time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and the first time in over five years. Their last meeting took place in 2009 at the French Open. This is their first meeting on a hard court and will likely favour Sharapova, although it could last three sets.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets