2018 Australian Open Round 3 Preview: Angelique Kerber vs Maria Sharapova

Angelique Kerber is on fire right now, having started the 2018 season on an 11-match win streak; however if she wants to extend that to 12 it’s going to be a difficult task as she faces 5-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open. Read on for the preview…

Australian Open Third Round

[21] Angelique Kerber (No.16) vs Maria Sharapova (No.48)

After a dire 2017 which saw her fail to win a title and fall outside the top 20 after starting the year at No.1, Angelique Kerber has turned heads around this year. Kerber reached the final of the Hopman Cup and captured her 11th WTA title in Sydney over Ashleigh Barty. The Kerber express continues rolling on and on in Melbourne with comfortable straight-set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam and Donna Vekic; and thus the win streak has now reached number 11. Stat: She was only able to reach this number in March in 2017! Kerber is looking more and more like a contender for the title but she’ll need to step it up even further if she’s going to get past her next opponent…

And that opponent is the resurgent Maria Sharapova who has looked really sharp in Melbourne thus far. Sharapova has made an unspectacular but decent start to the year, reaching the semifinals in Shenzhen, falling to an inspired Katerina Siniakova. Sharapova though recorded hard fought wins over Tatjana Maria and Anastasija Sevastova, the latter win especially hard fought as the Russian had struggled against Sevastova in the past, her conqueror in last year’s US Open. The 2008 champion’s form has been a little up and down but you can never doubt Maria’s fighting spirit on court as she just fights so hard for every match. Sharapova will definitely be motivated to reach her the second week of the AO since 2016.

Head to head: Sharapova leads the head to head 4-3, but Kerber has won their previous two match-ups, in Stuttgart 2015 and Wimbledon 2014. Both of these matches were certainly three set epics and this Australian Open match is seemingly shaping up to be one too…

Stat: Throughout the whole of the 2017 season, Kerber only managed 4 top 35 wins. Just less than three weeks into the season and Kerber has already notched 5 top 35 victories (Gavrilova, Cibulkova, Safarova, Venus, Barty)!

Final thoughts: As aforementioned above, the Wimbledon and Stuttgart thrillers were my favourite matches of 2014 and 2015 respectively so I’m really looking forward to this one. Kerber has been razor sharp all year and her stellar counter-punching will give Sharapova plenty of problems, as Sharapova will need to constantly put pressure on the German whilst making as little errors as possible. A 30 winner-31 unforced error ratio against Sevastova will not cut it out against such a player like Kerber. I’m going for Angie to edge this out in three…

Prediction: Angelique Kerber d. Maria Sharapova in three sets

Australian Open predictions are here, you can find them at the menu at the top of the blog as well. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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