Thursday’s blockbuster match-up will see Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki reignite their rivalry with a first encounter in 2015. Tennis has killed it today and I feel so behind in catching up with everything that has happened! It’s been arguably, the best day of the year so far. In the first match of the day, Sharapova earnt a tough win over Caroline Garcia, 6-2 4-6 7-5. The Frenchwoman had her opportunities in a big hitting and bold third round match. From watching on the live scoreboard, about a set and a half into play I thought Maria would win in two. I was surprised when Garcia broke at 5-4 to take the second set. I’ve just watched back the third set which was pretty gripping stuff. It seemed that a pair of drop shots at 4-5 and 5-5 from Maria were pretty crucial to this match. The second of those saw Caroline on her back and some marvellous GIFs.
It was a classic Sharapova performance, peaking when it really mattered and closing out proceedings with a second serve ace down the T. Garcia’s handshake seemed to garner attention on Twitter but I didn’t see much wrong with it. OK, it was a little slappy and cold, but put yourself in Caro’s shoes… you’ve just lost a really tough match and your opponent fistpumps pretty much in your face. Maria didn’t do anything wrong but if you’re Caro, you’re not exactly beaming! Wozniacki won her third match this week in straight sets, coming through 6-3 6-2 against Agnieszka Radwanska. It was the most one-sided scoreline in their head-to-head since 2010. There were plenty of breaks but it was Caro who was the more dominant on return, breaking six times. Radwanska won just 18% of points on her second serve.
Sharapova leads the head-to-head against Wozniacki, 5-4. Their last two matches were both very memorable and ended with Wozniacki winning in three sets. The Dane pulled out one of her most impressive sets of tennis to completely overwhelm the Russian player in the third set of their US Open 4th round clash which finished, 6-4 2-6 6-2. Their last encounter in Singapore was more Wozniacki outlasting Sharapova, coming through 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-2 in an absolute slugfest. Sharapova has won their two previous matches on clay both in Rome. Wozniacki seems to be showing some improvements on clay and looks more comfortable movement-wise than ever before. Improving on last year is not exactly difficult where injury and other issues didn’t help her plight. Confidence seems to be at its highest in 2015 after a so-so start. On the clay of Madrid i’d back Sharapova, particularly after her win over Garcia which could prove to be a pretty big one as the clay season really starts to hot up.
Prediction: Sharapova d. Wozniacki in 3 sets