Kerber vs. Sharapova
|Date & Time||Friday January 19, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber meet in the third round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova is coming off a straight sets win over Anastasija Sevastova that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Sharapova won 82 percent of her first serve points and 46 percent of her second serve points. Sharapova certainly didn’t play her cleanest match, as she was broken three times and tried her best to give away the second set, but she found a way to victory and beat a top-20 player in straight sets. Sharapova is still trying to get her feet under her, as she can be a bit sloppy at times, but her service game is on point and she’s still spraying winners across the court. Consistency is now the next step for Sharapova to return to the player competing for grand slam titles. Sharapova hasn’t been bounced before the fourth round of a grand slam since the 2013 Wimbledon. Sharapova has won five of her last six matches on hard court.
Angelique Kerber is coming off a straight sets win over Donna Vekic that took 27 games to decide. In the victory, Kerber won 73 percent of her first serve points and 59 percent of her second serve points. Kerber is off to a really strong start this season after a disappointing season last year that had many questioning if her 2016 was a fluke. Kerber is hitting the ball with confidence, has been strong with her return and has dropped just nine combined games in her first two matches. It’s still very early in the season obvsiouly, but it may be safe to say that Kerber is back to being a threat in big tournaments. Kerber hopes to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the sixth time since 2016. Kerber has won seven straight matches on hard court.
These two have played seven times and Sharapova has won four of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2015 Stuttgart Open, a match Kerber won in three sets. Kerber has won the last two meetings against Sharapova, and her last loss was in the 2013 Stuttgart Open. Sharapova has won both meetings on hard court.
Sharapova has beaten Kerber both times on hard court, but I’m not putting much stock into matches six years ago. Kerber is a much better player right now and has been the more consistent player even in this tournament. Sharapova often looks like she’s still getting her legs under her, and she had trouble closing out her second round victory. I’m not at the point where I fully trust Sharapova.
Give me Kerber to win this must-see match.