Rybarikova Upends Sharapova In Moscow

Rybarikova upends Sharapova

VTB Kremlin Cup, Moscow

[26] Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) vs. [57] Maria Sharapova (RUS)

Sharapova led their head-to-head 1:0 coming into this match; however, that match was contested in 2015 and a lot has changed since then.  While the Russian is struggling to regain her position atop the sport, Rybarikova has been having the season of her life. The Slovakian is at a career high of 26 and she has been playing with that newly regained confidence.

The first set was highly competitive with the Slovakian having more opportunities to break than the Russian. They traded breaks early; however, it was a late break in the set that gave Rybarikova the opportunity to serve for the set at 6-5. While many may not like Sharapova, they cannot deny that she is one of the fiercest competitors on tour and she showed that when she fought to get the break back and force a tiebreak. Perhaps it was inevitable, she was the one struggling more in the first set to hold serve and it became more apparent in the tiebreak when she double faulted and made a few costly forehand errors to lose the tiebreak to Rybarikova.

The second set was a cleaner effort from the Russian; however, it was not enough to keep her in the match. The Slovakian used the variety of shots in her arsenal to keep Sharapova unsettled. Although Sharapova manufactured two opportunities to break and potentially serve out the set and force a third set, inexplicably she could not convert. Failing to break, the pressure mounted for the Russian, who was constantly under fire having to serve from behind the entire set and it finally took its toll in the tenth game. Serving to stay in the match, Sharapova made a wild forehand error and two backhand errors to lose the match. Rybarikova with the 7-6(3), 6-4 victory avenged her 2015 loss to the Russian.

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