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Maria Sharapova vs. Ashleigh Barty 2018 Rome Masters Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction

Barty vs. Sharapova

May 2018

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Tennis

Maria Sharapova and Ashleigh Barty meet in the first round of the 2018 tennis Rome Masters.

Maria Sharapova is coming off a quarterfinal trip in the Madrid Masters, which is easily the most success she’s had so far this season. In that tournament, Sharapova found consistent success with her serve and managed to get 72 percent of her first serves in play despite her loss to Kiki Bertens. Sharapova has now won eight of her last 11 sets played and could be experiencing a turning point as she hopes to return to the player she was years ago before all the off the court issues. Of course, Sharapova is a three-time winner of the Rome Masters since 2011, so she should be rather confident when she takes the court this week. Sharapova has won five of her last eight matches on clay court.

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Maria Sharapova vs. Ashleigh Barty 2018 Rome Masters Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ashleigh Barty has been hit or miss this season, as she enters this tournament with an 11-7 record and is fresh off a tough three set loss to Caroline Wozniacki in Madrid. Barty is coming off a match in which she won just 11 of 36 second serve points, something that obviously has to improve if she hopes to make a deep run in one of these big tournaments. The good news is that Barty has yet to put together back-to-back poor performances this year and is always a tough player to eliminate when she’s playing with that quiet confidence she has going. You can usually tell early in a Barty match what type of showing it’s going to be. This will be Barty’s first ever appearance in the Rome Masters. Barty has split her last eight matches on clay court.

This will be the first ever match between these two players.

Barty is always a tough player for me to bet against, as she can beat anybody on tour when she has her game going. The problem is she’s been hot and cold all season long. Sharapova is currently playing her best stretch of tennis in a while and her only loss came to Bertens, who has caught fire on clay and has a real good chance to win the Madrid Masters. If that Sharapova shows up for this tournament, she can make another deep run in  tournament she’s won three times.

I give Sharapova the slight edge.

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