Stosur Favourite Or Underdog vs. Sharapova?
by Sandra Harwitt|
There’s an interesting women’s fourth round match opening the Sony Ericsson Open card on Monday. On paper, fourth-seeded Samantha Stosur should be the favorite when she faces 16th-seeded Maria Sharapova. It’s basically the battle of No. 5 versus No. 13 and the higher ranked player is supposed to have the advantage. But the big question here is whether Stosur is capable of being the head honcho in this match or is she really the underdog?
History would suggest that in actuality Stosur should not prevail in this encounter. Sharapova, a former world No. 1, has beaten the Australian all six times they’ve played. They first squared off at the 2004 Birmingham event and last encountered each other at the 2009 Tokyo tournament. Here’s the lowdown: In 14 sets played, Stosur’s only won two and that’s certainly not going to get the job done today.
Stosur spent her early years on tour finding success on the doubles court. She was so phenomenal at the tandem game that she eventually wasn’t playing all that much singles. She won 22 doubles titles between 2005 and 2007.
But after contracting Lyme’s disease in 2007 and being sidelined for seven months, Stosur decided to dedicate herself to playing singles. The move proved to be fortuitous as she worked her way up the corporate tennis ladder to a Top 10 ranking. To date, her crowning achievement is reaching the French Open final last year.
Sharapova is also a player who missed a lot of time on tour because of a shoulder injury. The Russian, who has lived in the United States since she was seven, didn’t play between August 2008 and May 2009. The comeback from surgery has not been as smooth as Sharapova would like – she doesn’t seem to have the pizzazz she once did with her serve and that used to be the cornerstone of her game.
If Stosur had more momentum on her side it would be easy to pick her for the win. But she hasn’t broken out to excellent results yet this season, so Sharapova should steer a path to the quarterfinals.
Men’s third round action offers the All-Spanish soiree between Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez. As you can imagine these guys are good friends and there will be no secrets to unveil in their games.
There’s also no secret between which of these players is the more accomplished. Rafael Nadal is world No. 1 and Lopez is No. 41 – so what’s 40 spots between friends? Quite a lot. Nadal has 43 career titles, which includes nine Grand Slam trophies: five French Opens, two Wimbledons, one Australian and one U.S. Open. In comparison, Lopez owns two career titles and can boast two French Open quarter-final appearances.
Another advantage for Nadal is he has a 6-2 winning record over Lopez in career matches played. Lopez won their first meeting at the 2003 Basel, Switzerland event and a quarterfinal at the 2010 Queen’s tournament.
Now here are a few things they have in common. They both play lefty and neither guy has won a title this season. And, so, you’re wondering if Lopez has any advantage? There are many women out there that would give him the nod for his dreamy blue eyes. Lopez will do his best to stick close to Nadal, but Rafa will roll through to the fourth round.
Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) v Kim Clijsters (Belgium) – Clijsters is the defending champion and has a lot to prove this tournament. Clijsters surprisingly allowed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to take her to three sets in the previous round. She might allow Ivanovic to win more than two games in a set – she never has in the past – but Kim will keep on keeping on.
Roger Federer (Switzerland) v Juan Monaco (Argentina) – All that talk that Federer is now ranked No. 3 and could be losing his grip on his game is not being lost on the Swiss sensation. He’s not likely to let Monaco, a clay courter, usher him to the exit.
Get the VIP treatment and go behind the scenes with the 2013 Priceless Experiences Program Presented by MasterCard. Go
This exclusive venue features an upscale restaurant, trendy bar and lounge area which allow guests the opportunity to escape the heat.Go