Serena Williams will play Maria Sharapova for the first time in nearly 2 years on Monday afternoon, weather permitting. Serena is looking to extend her record over Sharapova to 20-2 but this match is seen as one of the best opportunities for the Russian to win in a long time.
Sharapova has been far from impressive in 2018 but looks to be finding form at the right time. She follows up a Rome semi final with this run to the fourth round. Up against Karolina Pliskova in the previous round, she was utterly dominant against the Czech with less than an hour needed to secure the victory 6-2 6-1. “I was solid. I played smart. I think I did the right things, I was aggressive on the break points, I went for it. I took the match rather than her giving it to me,” she said afterwards.
Serena was impressive in seeing off the threat of another top 20 player in Julia Görges. In a strong serving performance, she won 85% of points on her first serve in the match. While still low on matches, she is beginning to look far improved from the player who took to the court in Indian Wells and Miami. Despite her record against Sharapova, she doesn’t believe that she should be considered the favourite going into this match. Quite frankly, she’s probably a favorite in this match,” she said.”You know, she’s been playing for over a year now. I just started, so I’m just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.”
While it seems like a fair view on the face of things, it’s not the first time that a vulnerable Serena has taken to the court against Sharapova. By now, the mental baggage must be taking it’s toll on the Russian – even for someone considered as tough as her.
Prediction – Serena Williams in three sets