WTA Stuttgart, 2nd Round Preview: Maria Sharapova v Angelique Kerber

KerberLess than a month ago, everyone was selling their shares in Angelique Kerber following a rough run that saw her win just two WTA singles matches in the space of six tournaments.  Heading into Stuttgart, there was renewed optimism surrounding Kerber after she reignited her year with a title run in Charleston, coming back from all kinds of deficits in several matches, including in the final where she edged Madison Keys in three sets.  In a stellar second round match-up, Kerber takes on the number one seed, Maria Sharapova in Thursday’s marquee match at not before 6.30pm local time in Stuttgart.

Kerber continued her upturn in form with a straight sets win over Alexa Glatch in her first rounder in Stuttgart, 6-2 7-5.  Sharapova had a bye in the first round and has been rather quiet of late, spending some time on the sidelines with a foot injury.  Much like last year, she didn’t perform well during the Indian Wells-Miami double.  Sharapova lost to Flavia Pennetta in the fourth round of Indian Wells, 3-6 6-3 6-2 and in her first match in Miami to Daria Gavrilova, 7-6(4) 6-3.  Both results could be linked to the injury, which saw her pull out Fed Cup action and only return to training very recently in the last week or so.

Sharapova leads Kerber 4-2 in the head-to-head; their match from Stuttgart in 2012 was a topsy-turvy affair which saw Sharapova go for a mid-match walkabout but bring it back to win the last eight points of the match and prevail, 7-5 in the decider.  Kerber has two wins over Sharapova including her greatest triumph in their last match at Wimbledon in 2014.  Kerber produced a stunning performance to take out Sharapova in three gruelling sets, 7-6(4) 4-6 6-4.  There’s bound to be some rust from Sharapova, but it will still require a really superb performance from Kerber to take out the Stuttgart queen.  I have a feeling this is going to be mega…

Prediction: Sharapova d. Kerber in 3 sets

Poll results: 55% of readers correctly predicted Errani would beat Radwanska and 61% of readers correctly predicted that Halep would beat Muguruza

21 thoughts on “WTA Stuttgart, 2nd Round Preview: Maria Sharapova v Angelique Kerber

  1. Angie needs to have a really good start here, and get the foothold before Maria settles. I think she’ll take the first set quite handily 6-1, 6-2, but Maria will probably fight back in a tight 2nd set, before winning in the third.. hope Angie wins though!!!

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  2. Maria will win some way or another. She is a fighter, and especially when she has dominated Stuttgart these last 3 years, she won’t let anyone stop her.

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  3. Both players are associated with the tournament sponsors. I think they will play their best. Kerber just needs to be wear Sharapova down with patience if she is to win. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the rest of Sharapova’s Clay court season if she loses one of her faved titles.

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  4. If Kerber defeats Sharapova she will have to do it in straight sets,Maria may be rusty,Kerber i feel has her best chance to defeat Sharapova.

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  5. I think Maria will prevail in the end in a tough three setter.She will never want such an early exit of her carrer best WTA tournament

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  6. Kerber is dogged, stubborn, feisty and determined, but in all of these superlatives, I think she will get outbattled as the pay peg looms. It still represent a glaring opportunity for Kerber who has already has first shot at seducing the courts with the added home advantage lurking!

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  7. Compliments they aren’t enough to describe how good Kerber played today. Kerber played the best set of her life.

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  8. Really enjoyed the match,well done Kerber,I thought you needed to defeat Sharapova in straight sets,I dont mind being wrong:)….somewhere Simona Halep is smiling she will be ranked No.2,when the new rankings come out on Monday.

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      • Lucky for Maria that she’s not facing Halep recently and risking marring her perfect record. Simona must be chomping at the bit to play her.

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      • Andrew….lol! I assume they will meet each other in another clay tournament this year,Halep has the right game plan to defeat Sharapova,she showed that in the final last year at RG,she just needs to commit to it for the whole match,maybe inexperience,actually I have tipped Halep to win RG this year,sometimes you have to lose a Grand Slam final in order to know how to win one.

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      • I do think Halep has the game to beat Sharapova. A lot of players do. I think Maria is stronger than Simona mentally though.

        I reckon Serena lifts her third French. She has that fire that she did in 12/13

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  9. Nobody slides on clay like Halep does. Just that Carla Suarez Navarro had played insane tennis today against Bencic. She’s the only menace left in the way of Simona in Stuttgart and elsewhere on clay. I think Serena cannot beat Simona on clay, she hardly does it on hardcourt these days.

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    • When Serena trains properly, she’s the best player in the world on clay. Last year she just didn’t put in the work required to win. She’s said this past week that this won’t be the case over the coming month.

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      • I watch over and over higlights from clay tournaments, from 2014 and older. I hardly see Serena in there, always other players. Serena had luck last time cuz’ Halep is more fairplay than she is. If I were in Simona’s shoes I would have been walked over from the encounter in Miami, like Serena did in IW.
        Simona must have been tired by the end of Miami tournament. She is just not sophisticated enough to pay back the same way…

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