2015 Australian Open, Quarter-Final Preview: Eugenie Bouchard v Maria Sharapova

Eugenie BouchardThere have been shocks aplenty in the bottom half of the women’s draw, but the quarter-finals have really held up.  Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova have both come through for the loss of just one set and will resume what is slowly become a very intriguing rivalry.  Bouchard lost her first set of the tournament in the fourth round to Irina-Camelia Begu in a 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory.  Bouchard led by a set and a double break, before losing five straight games in an error-strewn second set.  Since saving two match points against Alexandra Panova in the second round, Sharapova has looked rather terrifying, at least to the rest of the players in the draw.  Sharapova lost just two games against Zarina Diyas and three games against Peng Shuai, spending less time on the court for these two matches compared to the match with Panova.

Sharapova has won all three previous encounters with Bouchard; the first two were both in straight sets, but the most recent of those in the semi-finals of Roland Garros was a terrific match.  Bouchard demonstrated her rapid improvement on tour but Maria held on for the win, 4-6 7-5 6-2.  Genie has been playing solid this week without really setting the world alight.  There could have been a letdown this year, particularly after she got wiped at the WTA Championships in Singapore.  Her mental resilience doesn’t get the credit that it deserves.  I don’t buy in to the “she’s had a piss easy draw” because the last two players she has come up against were both dangerous.  You can only beat who is in front of you and if she’s going to go all the way, Genie will have to beat top ten players.  The draws do normally equalise out over the year despite what some people will say!

One of Genie’s greatest strengths is her self-belief and there’s no doubt that she believes she can beat Maria.  However, i’m backing Maria in this one.  When a player survives match points, I think it’s a huge confidence boost and particularly for someone like Sharapova.  She’s looked incredibly focussed since that second round match.  Maria for the win…

Prediction: Sharapova d. Bouchard in 2 sets

Sunday poll results: 66% of readers correctly predicted that Bouchard would beat Begu and 73% correctly predicted thar Sharapova would beat Peng.

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

12 thoughts on “2015 Australian Open, Quarter-Final Preview: Eugenie Bouchard v Maria Sharapova

  1. I’m going for Bouchard. I think beating Sharapova here is nearly as important for her as winning the title. She’s a terrific returner and the way she takes time away from her opponents will is the best tactic against Maria.
    I don’t like either of them so I’m hoping its a long, drawn out affair that leaves them both exhausted.

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  2. Well, not a big surprise for a Mari-addict as me but i’m going for Maria.
    Bouchard’s service seems poor those days. Breaked many times by Begu, the opponent of of the previous round, while Maria is ok. C’mon Maria;
    Maria to win 6/4 6/0.

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  3. I think both Sharapova and Bouchard are mentally strong but I think Sharapova is more experienced and has a history of coming back from brink of defeat to win matches. Bouchard hasnt had that experience. Sharapova has a definite edge when it comes to mental strength, it’s her mental strength that has lead her to win grand slams. Her (Sharapova) game though very good is definitely not among the best on tour. People like Kvitova, Stosur, Radwanska, Safarova etc. have very good games but they are mentally not even half of what Sharapova is. I think unless Bouchard is able to consistently paint the lines (not an easy job), Sharapova will prevail. Sharapova is a better defensive player than Bouchard.
    I do think that Halep has a far better chance of beating Maria in the semis than Makarova. Makarova is mentally totally incapable of beating Maria.

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  4. I think Bouchard will surprise everyone and get the win this time. She’s definitely the underdog, and she is playing really well. If she took Maria to 3 sets on her best surface, at her best tournament, she has a chance on a hard court.

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    • Easy draw in grand slams doesn’t equal a great player. She earned 3000 points from slams and she is going to lose at least half of them this year. She will be out of the top 10 this year. Her easy draw in slams will come to an end soon.

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      • Yes. What Jade said about easy draws for Bouchard is really correct. I noticed it, but while you talk about that… Sometimes, i wondered whether the draws were fair or not. I mean, WTA association made Bouchard as a player they were focusing a part of their communication… So i had that feeling that her easy draw for grand slam could not always have been at random.

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      • I disagree… yes WTA have been behind Bouchard, but they would not rig the draws. Anyway, Bouchard’s draw was not a walkover from the start with Kuznetsova projected in R3 and Kerber in R4. Her draw just happened to open up.

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  5. Thank you for answering, James. That give me opportunity to explain further some things i was wondering about her.
    Yes, Bouchard was definitevely lucky for that year. Those things happens sometimes. But what i really don’t get about her is what reason for wta to be so behind her ?
    I mean, there were plenty of great new talents : Townsend, Keys, Stephens and that’s only for USA. There are also Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, and so many others to come… Lisicki is now a well known, but she had a great slam final… and there were less communication about her from wta.
    Why so much focus on Bouchard … i mean, she is kind of “bland” as a player. Even Wozniaki has more “grip”. Could this be some kind of favortism, or kind of lobbysm ?

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