The Picks, Madrid, May 8: Maria Sharapova vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Serena Williams vs. Petra Kvitova

Sharapova IW 15 TR MALT6619


Who is more tired? Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova? Serena won a marathon 7-6 in the third set over Victoria Azarenka and then crushed the rising Spaniard Carla Suarez. Sharapova outlasted

Caroline Garcia 7-5 in the third and then outhit Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 in the third. Kuznetsova won three matches that went on and on, as the former two-time Slam champion overcame Garbine Muguruza 7-5 in third, survived over Sam Stosur 7-6 also in the third, and then got through over Lucie Safarova 7-6 in the third. The Czech Kvitova bested Olga Govortsova 6-4 in the third and then she beat CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 in the third.

So who will have her rubbery legs?

Perhaps against Kuznetsova, who has fought so hard and really mixed it up and also pounded her forehands into both corners, but eventually, you cannot run forever day after day and if she goes more than an hour and a half, she will grow very tired, very fast. Over the past two year she has been up and down, partially because she wasn’t playing the right way and she was an emotional mess. But she has rediscovered her ship and she is happy again. She seems to know her right strategies.

But Kuznetsova cannot jump on the balls super early and knock her socks off. Sharapova can though and she looks pretty darn good again. She was hurt in Miami, now saying that she should not have played at all, but her bum leg feels better and here, she has been moving quite well. She loves clay these days, actually likes to slide even though she is tall and can tangle up, and she likes to set up her shots and when she is ready, she will rip it. Sharapova will kiss the lines and win in straight sets.

Kvitova has yet to beat Serena in five matches – surprise, surprise — and perhaps one day, she will, like on grass when she has won two Grand Slams at Wimbledon. The lefty does have a huge first serve swinging out wide, and she smoke her forehand and backhand, but she can get in trouble when she can pull her out way wide and get caught.

Serena is better overall, with her serves and her strokes. Yes, Azarenka can stay in there against Serena, but Kvitova has yet to prove that she can return super hard and stick in there, both in front and behind. Kvitova wants to eventually become No. 1, but she has months ahead to go and if she ever manages to do it she has to improve everywhere. She cannot go into a walk-about against the other top opponents. She will play tough and it will be close in the first set, but Serena will edge her and run past her in the second set.

Serena vs. Maria again? Excited on clay? Why yes.


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