Peng vs. Sharapova
|Date & Time||Saturday October 14, 2017, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
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Maria Sharapova and Shuai Peng meet in the semifinals of the 2017 Tianjin Open.
Maria Sharapova is coming off a straight sets win over Stefanie Voegele that took 16 games to decide. In the victory, Sharapova won 85 percent of her first serve points and 53 percent of her second serve points. Sharapova hasn’t dropped a set this tournament and is coming off a match in which she won 55 percent of her return points. Sharapova is still having a hard time making that deep tournament run to truly stamp her return, but with nearly 20 matches under her belt, it’s safe to say she’s no longer an easy out with her legs under her. Sharapova has lost five of her last six semifinal appearances. Sharapova hopes to make her first final appearance since the 2015 Italian Open. Sharapova has won eight of her last 10 matches on hard court.
Shuai Peng is coming off a straight sets win over Sara Sorribes Tormo that took 13 games to decide. In the victory, Peng won 73 percent of her first serve points and 57 percent of her second serve points. Peng simply dominated her quarterfinal match, which included winning 64 percent of her return points. Peng has played her best tennis by far on hard court and is always dangerous this time of year given that she’s usually the crowd favorite. Peng hasn’t been an easy out recently, and her recent match only gives her that much more confidence. Peng has won four of her last five semifinal appearances. Peng hopes to make her third final appearance of the season. Peng has won five of her last six matches on hard court.
These two have played six times and Sharapova has won five of those matches. The most recent meeting was in the 2015 Australian Open, a match Sharapova won in 15 games. Peng’s only win over Sharapova came in the 2009 China Open. Peng has lost four straight against Sharapova.
You can never count out Peng with her ability to hit big and spray winners, and she’s even more dangerous with the crowd behind her. However, the head to head numbers don’t lie, and Sharapova is showing signs of returning to the player she was before her absence. She’s playing clean tennis and returning with tons of success.
Sharapova should reach her first final of the season.