Maria Sharapova vs. Aryna Sabalenka
|Date & Time||Wednesday January 2, 2019, 11:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sharapova meet in the quarterfinals of the 2018 tennis Shenzhen Open.
Aryna Sabalenka is coming off a straight sets win over Ekaterina Alexandrova that took 18 games to decide. In the victory, Sabalenka won 62 percent of her first serve points and 63 percent of her second serve points. Sabalenka won 62 percent of her total service points and produced five breaks on nine break chances. Sabalenka has crushed in her last four sets since dropping the opening set this tournament, and she has to like her chances if she continues to serve the way she’s served as of late. Sabalenka has a chance to win three matches in a single tournament for the first time since winning the title in Wuhan. Sabalenka has won six of her last eight matches on hard court.
Maria Sharapova is coming off a two sets win over Xinyu Wang that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Sharapova won 68 percent of her first serve points and 42 percent of her second serve points. Sharapova was bailed out in her match due to Wang being forced to retire with a leg injury in the second set. Sharapova did increase her level of play in the second set, but she was down in the match at the time and was struggling big time with her second serve. Regardless, Sharapova is in the quarterfinals and has a chance to win three matches in a single tournament for the third time in her last six tries. Sharapova has won five of her last six matches on hard court.
These two have played once, which was in Tianjin in 2017, a match Sharapova won in straight sets. The match took 25 games to be decided.
I’ve been saying it for a while now, but Sharapova is still trying to get her feet under her, as she’s not putting together complete matches. Sharapova shows flashes of returning to form, but she still has issues with unforced errors and her second serve. It’s tough to trust Sharapova once she starts playing some of the better players in the world. Heck, Sharapova just had her hands full in her last match and who knows how that turns out if Wang didn’t get injured.
I’m siding with Sabalenka to win this match.