An intriguing Round of 32 match takes place on Wednesday in the WTA Mutua Madrid Open.
A Rare Glimpse of Form from Kristina Mladenovic & Maria Sharapova in 2018
Liberty-exuding Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic has strung together back-to-back victories in Madrid. This is the first time since Acapulco in March. Maria Sharapova’s routing of Irina-Camelia Begu last round, means she’s strung together two-in-a-row for first time since Australian Open 2018. Both players can be exciting to watch and one will extend the winning streak to three.
Brief History: Mladenovic Stopped Sharapova at Start of Comeback
Just over a year ago, Sharapova’s comeback at the Stuttgart Open 2017 looked to be gaining momentum. It was almost effortless, the way she stomped into the semifinals.
Then, much to the delight of those opposed to Sharapova’s privileged return, Mladenovic stopped the Russian in her tracks at the semifinal stage. This leveled the head-to-head 1-1, but it is their only meeting on clay. It was a tight punch-packing three set match. Mladenovic’s grinding fitness edge won the day. That, and the fact that she was then in blistering form.
It’s all About Momentum
This match is pivotal to a successful clay season for either of these players. Lose this and it will be eyes on building form and confidence for the grass season. Win it and gain more big game clay experience in 2018, then Mladenovic or Sharapova could sneak onto the list of potential French Open winners. They’ve both got the requisite big game on clay.
Also, a win for Sharapova will keep alive a potential Wozniacki clash, much-anticipated since their US Open 2017 spat. Yet, a win for Mladenovic and it will start getting the home faithful excited at the prospect of a French French Open champion.
Both players have had tough matches previously. Expect this one to go the full three sets, but Mladenovic might just edge it.