Garcia vs. Sharapova
|Date & Time||Monday April 23, 2018, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Maria Sharapova and Caroline Garcia meet in the first round of the 2018 tennis Stuttgart Open.
Maria Sharapova hasn’t won a match since the second round of the Australian Open and hasn’t played since losing to Naomi Osaka in the Indian Wells Masters. Sharapova is clearly still trying to find her footing since returning from suspension, and she must be better with her second serve and limiting her unforced errors. Sharapova won just 33 percent of her second serve points and had six double faults in her last match. We know what Sharapova is capable of when hitting the ball with confidence and playing with some sort of rhythm, but right now she’s hard to trust and very inconsistent. Sharapova has 94 career wins over top-10 players. Sharapova has won seven of her last 10 matches on clay court.
Caroline Garcia is also trying to find some consistency, as she enters this match 10-8 on the season and is coming off a tough loss to Alize Cornet in Charleston. In her most recent match, Garcia had six double faults and won just 59 percent of her first serve points. Garcia has been great when hitting the ball with pace and being aggressive with her serve, but we haven’t seen a great deal of consistency from her since she made a run in the Australian Open. While she has success on clay, this slower surface likely isn’t going to help Garcia much in those areas. A fast start in this match could do wonders for Garcia’s confidence given her head to head numbers against her opponent. Garcia has won five of her last eight matches on clay court.
These two have played four times and Sharapova has won all four meetings. The most recent match was in the 2015 Madrid Masters, a match she won in three sets. This will be the third meeting on clay and two of the four matches have gone the distance.
This is a tough match to call, as Garcia isn’t playing like Garcia as of late, and Sharapova has little matches under her belt and hasn’t won in quite some time. The head to head numbers obviously favor Sharapova, but they haven’t played in three years, and Garcia is a much better player now.
I’m going to give the edge to Garcia because she has matches under her belt and more consistent schedule. With both struggling, I want the player who is at least out there consistently and far less rust.