Maria Sharapova vs. Kristina Mladenovic 2018 Madrid Masters Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction
Mladenovic vs. Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova and Kristina Mladenovic meet in the third round of the 2018 tennis Madrid Masters.
Maria Sharapova is coming off a straight sets win over Irina-Camelia Begu that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Sharapova won 71 percent of her first serve points and 72 percent of her second serve points. Sharapova won another straight sets match as she tries to find her footing this year, and she looked looked like the Sharapova of old, simply dominating her service game. Sharapova also won 51 percent of her return points and broke five times, and if that’s an indication of things to come, she’s going to be a handful to deal with moving forward. Of course, it’s best to use caution with Sharapova, as she’s shown us flashes of returning to form but has truly lacked consistency. Sharapova has won seven of her last 10 matches on clay court.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Kristina Mladenovic is coming off a three sets win over Shuai Zhang that took 29 games to decide. In the victory, Mladenovic won 68 percent of her first serve points and 64 percent of her second serve points. Mladenovic worked hard to win her second round match, as she broke four times and got 70 percent of her first serves in play. Mladenovic will need to have a similar performance with her first serve if she hopes to advance, as you can’t give Sharapova many looks at a second serve, even if she’s in shaky form overall. Mladenovic played a very clean game for the most part and now has a chance to win three matches in a single tournament for the first time since St. Petersburg. Mladenovic has won six of his last eight matches on clay court.
These two have split the previous two meetings, as Sharapova won in the 2013 Wimbledon and Mladenovic won in Stuttgart of last year. Those are the only two meetings between these players.
It’s always tough to predict a Sharapova match these days, as you don’t know which player you’re going to get. However, Sharapova has played the best match of these two players this tournament and is fresh off a dominating second round match. If Sharapova plays at the level she did in the second round, she should cruise in this contest.
I’ll side with Sharapova.