Women’s Australian Open, R4 Preview for Sunday: Maria Sharapova v Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic

Waheyyyy… I’m all in for this fourth round match between Maria Sharapova and Belinda Bencic which will be the first match (boo) on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. I had my eye on this match-up when the draw came out and i’m super happy that it’s become a reality. Both players were forced to three sets in their third round matches. Bencic was first up on Rod Laver Arena on Friday and came from a set down to beat Kateryna Bondarenko, 4-6 6-2 6-4. Bencic dropped just five points on serve in the final set and secured another decent win, particularly after Bondarenko had played so well in the last round against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Bencic has done well to scrap her way through a lot matches already in 2016, a sign of her mental toughness.

For Sharapova, a dropped second set tiebreak was sandwiched by a breadstick-bagel-combination. Sharapova beat Lauren Davis, 6-1 6-7(5) 6-0, and reacted well after a wild 77-minute second set which saw the pair combine for 53 unforced errors. Sharapova came into this Slam ‘cold’ having been forced out of the Brisbane International with a forearm injury but has once again demonstrated that she is one of the best at being able to compete at a major tournament without any warm-up tournaments.

Head-to-head record: What makes this match-up so exciting is that the pair have never played before on the WTA tour,

Interesting stat about Bencic: As per the tweet above, Bencic has won her last 15 three set matches which is a crazy stat! This stretches all the way back to Rome last year where she lost to Daria Gavrilova. Since then she’s won three setters against Mladenovic, Konta, Radwanska, Pironkova, Friedsam, Bouchard, Lisicki, Serena, Halep (via retirement), Doi, Stosur, Brengle, Lucic-Baroni, Makarova and Bondarenko, In seven of those matches, Bencic has come from a set down to prevail.

Interesting stat about Sharapova: In her last seven Grand Slams, Sharapova has lost at the fourth round on four occasions…

Analysis: You could tell in Sharapova’s post-match interview that she’s fully aware of the threat that Bencic poses. The Swiss player has racked up some big wins in her ascension up the rankings. While she’s taken a while to get her game going in 2016, Bencic has still been producing highly respectable results… BB knows how to win. One thing that has become apparent is that Bencic adapts well to situations, particularly having experienced a loss against a player. It will be interesting to see how she copes playing Sharapova for the first time. I’d fancy this to go the distance… while I wouldn’t be surprised if Bencic brings out her A-game and produces another big performance, I think Sharapova will be dialled in after dropping a set to Davis and ultimately pull through.

Cheering for BB…

Prediction: Sharapova d. Bencic in 3 sets

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

13 thoughts on “Women’s Australian Open, R4 Preview for Sunday: Maria Sharapova v Belinda Bencic

  1. I think its either Sharapova plays a blinder and wins in straight sets or Bencic really grabs the bull by the horns and throws Sharapova off her rhythym and slogs it out. Either way, one player will play a ‘messy’ match

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  2. The Swiss Miss has a fairly good record in 3 setters and she loves the big stage to perform,I am not at all impressed by Sharapova’s current form .If it goes down to the wire BB has all the chance to take it.
    BB in 3 sets.

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    • This match is Sharapova to lose. Obviously, Sharapova is aware of BB’s strategy is to induce her to play in long rallies. BB probably hopes Sharapova to serve a few more double faults. You can say BB is a good 3 sets player, but please do not forget how Sharapova turns 3 setters in many winning matches. BB was not playing that well in her previous match. If Sharapova studies BB vs Puig match in Sydney, she should have a very good idea to beat her. Furthermore, I believe Sharapova can executive those shots better than Puig.

      I think Sharapova will win in 3 assuming she slips in the second like the previous match.

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  3. As I have said soo many times in the past,Bencic and her team Need to work on her serve,her 2nd serve is soo attackable.In regards to Sharpova in this match 20 aces soo far and 53 winners,the down side she has only converted around 3/14 BP’s???? she might get away with that stat against inexperience players,wait till she comes up against the likes of Vika or Serena,if she had converted those BP’s the scoreline would be quite different.BP stat is on the most important stat in our game.

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  4. Sharapova won the match on her 2MP,she challenged a line call,which was called out,it was on the line

    Sharapova d Bencic 75 75,quite a battle.As I mentioned in my post the scoreline would have been quite different if Sharapova converted some of the BP.s

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