Maria Sharapova is one of the injury affected top players as the 2013 began. She was set to play Brisbane International but she had to withdraw due to the right collarbone injury.
There will definitely be question marks on her form while entering the Australian Open, owing to the injury concern. However, we know that we now count on her to go deep in the draw, since she was coming off an injury lay off last year as well and did not play any warm-up event but went on to reach the final.
Let us see the chances of Sharapova going deep at the Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova and Australian Open 2013 – Based on the past results of 2nd seeds at Australian Open
It is interesting to note that a 2nd seeded player has never lost in the first and the second round of the Australian Open in the past 25 years. In fact a 2nd seeded player has lost only 5 times before the quarter-final of the Australian Open, and has went on to lift the trophy 4 times in the past 25 years.
The last time a second seed went on to lift the trophy was in 2009 when Serena Williams went on win her 4th Australian Open title.
The 2nd seed has went on to reach the semi-finals for the last two years.
How far will Sharapova go into the Australian Open, will she go on to clinch her 2nd Australian Open crown or will she bow out before the championship match?
Maria Sharapova and Australian Open 2013 – Based on the past performances of Sharapova at Australian Open
Maria Sharapova is an impressive 34-8 life-time in the Australian Open, and her best showing came in 2008, when as a 5th seed she defeated top seed Justine Henin in the quarter-finals, 3rd seeded Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals and 4th seeded Ana Ivanovic in the finals to claim the Australian Open crown.
4 of Sharapova’s 8 loses at the Australian Open have been at the hands of top 8 players. One of the loses to the players outside the top 8 has been at the hands of Serena Williams, when Serena Williams was ranked no.81, coming off an injury lay off, and defeated Sharapova in the final of 2007 Australain Open.
One of the remaining 3 loses came on her debut in the Australian Open in 2003, when she came of qualifiers and was was defeated in the first round by another qualifier Klara Zakoplaova (the name sounds familiar ;) ).
The two other loses came in 2010 in the first round when Sharapova was coming off an injury lay off, and the other loss came in 2011 in the 4th round at the hands of German, Andrea Petkovic.
Maria Sharapova has been to the semi-finals or better of the Australian Open at 5 of her 9 appearances. Given her history at the Australian Open, she should be one of the favourites for the title, alongside Serena Williams.
Given her 2nd seed, she will not face Victoria Azarenka till the final, if both make it to the final. However, one major concern for Sharapova will be the placement of Serena Williams in the draw. If Serena Williams lands into Sharapova’s half, Sharapova’s chances of making it to the final will be very bleak given her 2-9 head to head against Serena Williams and the fact that the Russian’s last victory over the American came in 2004 and since then Sharapova has been able to take off only 2 sets in the 9 encounters. The last set Sharapova won against Serena was way back in 2008.
Maria Sharapova will definitely need to bring back her 2004 form if she is to win the title.
How far do you see Maria Sharapova going into the Australian Open?
P.S : Stay tuned for the previews of Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic.
For a preview of other players please refer below: