Maria Sharapova opened eyes with a gutsy, go-for-it themed performance that allowed her to overcome her nemesis, Caroline Wozniacki, in round three of the Australian Open.
A 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 is a great reward for a bold approach to her second serve. Sharapova never allowed her Danish counterpart to slot into a defensive rhythm. It’s increasing speculation from commentators that the Australian Open 2019 could spark the ‘Slam revival’ of Sharapova.
Maria Sharapova looks determined to show she still possesses Slam Durability
A note of caution is advisable for Sharapova fans getting too carried away; at the US Open 2018, Sharapova looked unbeatable in her first three matches. Then from nowhere, she just imploded against Suarez-Navarro. All too often this has been the tale of Sharapova woe in Slams since her return from her ban.
At the beginning of a new year, the Russian champion needs at least one more win to build up her Slam stock again.
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) January 18, 2019
Maria Sharapova showing improved ‘in-match’ Consistency
One word to describe Sharapova over the last couple of years is inconsistent. That said, there are early signs this Australian Open that consistency, is returning to the 2008-former champion’s game.
Against the stoic, world #64 Rebecca Peterson in round two, Sharapova won 14 points in a row. Five more than her highest in her last four tournaments. Against Wozniacki, she won eight points in a row, and this put her in a dominant position.
This will be the key to her round of 16 match opponent, home favorite, Ashleigh Barty. If Sharapova can consistently keep up her first service potency – and 2nd service accuracy – she could silence the Australian crowd.
Sharapova is seeking to break her ‘2nd week of Slam’ hoodoo.
Although Maria Sharapova made the French Open quarterfinals 2018, she has not completed a victory since Australian Open 2016. Serena Williams’ withdrawal at Roland-Garros meant that Sharapova didn’t have to step foot on the court. Therefore, the last time Sharapova outplayed an opponent in the 2nd week of a Slam came in Melbourne 2016. This is when she out-gritted a young Belinda Bencic in two tight sets.
Sharapova’s 4th Round clash against Barty could make or break her Season
It seems there is an even split regarding those who think that Sharapova still has a Slam in her, and those who think she is heading towards retirement. Therefore, her round of 16 clash against Barty is crucial.
If Sharapova can follow up her sizzling display against Wozniacki with another one, then you have to consider her a contender.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images