Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova will continue her run in the Australian Open 2019 as she meets the local favourite, Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round.
Watch & bet on Maria Sharapova v Ashleigh Barty live with bet365 here* on Sunday, January 20. The Sharapova v Barty match timings will be announced soon.
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Sharapova’s Stunning Win Over Wozniacki
Sharapova is coming into this fixture after delivering the biggest upset of the tournament so far – knocking out the defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.
It was an epic encounter that is worthy of being deemed as one of the most remarkable matches in the competition’s history. The Russian, in a display of raw emotion and determination, defeated Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, in two hours and 26 minutes.
There were many instances in the match when the 2008 champion found herself struggling. For instance, in the first set, the Dane took an early lead to move up 3-1 after breaking Sharapova’s service. However, the 30th seed fought back and broke Wozniacki’s service twice to win the first set.
The second set, however, was quite bad for the Russian. She ended up making 19 unforced errors to practically hand over the set to her adversary. In the final set, Sharapova composed herself and got two break points in the penultimate games to win the match.
At the end of the day, Sharapova had committed 46 unforced errors, in comparison to Wozniacki’s 21. At the same time, she hit 37 winners while the third seed could hit only 10. Throughout the match, Sharapova chased the ball relentlessly. Her shot placement was excellent and she could have sealed the match sooner, had it not been for her unforced errors.
The Russian’s performance in Melbourne has been nothing short of sensational. She served a double bagel in her opening round against Harriet Dart after which, she defeated Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-1. It appears that she is on a personal mission to silence her critics and so far, she has done an excellent job.
While she didn’t win a title last season, she reached the quarterfinal at the Madrid Open and French Open, and semifinal at the Italian Open.
Barty – Carrying the Hopes of a Nation
The 22-year-old Barty is the only Australian left in the field right now. She started her season strong, having emerged as the runner-up in the WTA Sydney last week after defeating the likes of Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens.
In Melbourne, her path so far has been relatively simple. In the opening rounds, she defeated Luksika Kumkhum and Yafan Wang after which, she dispatched the Greek Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-1. She has achieved all of this without dropping a single set.
She jumped to career-best ranking as the No. 15 in the world last season after winning the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. She also won the WTA Nottingham earlier that year and reached the semifinal in Wuhan and Montreal.
Barty is aiming to become the first Australian lady since Christine O’Neil to win the Australian Open. That feat has been unmatched since 1978 and it is to be seen if the 15th seed can deliver that result this time.
Sharapova v Barty – Head to Head
The two players have met twice over the course of their careers and Sharapova, not so surprisingly, leads by 2-0. They last met in the first round of the Italian Open 2018, where the Russian won in three sets.
Sharapova v Barty – Who Will Win?
Barty has definitely got what it takes to win here. Last season, she defeated many top players such as Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens, and Naomi Osaka. The question is whether she can play that kind of tennis against an intimidating Sharapova and maintain high levels of consistency throughout the match.
Sharapova will start here as the favourite but expect this one to be full of intensity and emotions.
You can watch & bet on Maria Sharapova v Ashleigh Barty live with bet365 here* on Sunday, January 20.