WTA Cincinnati: Maria Sharapova vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova Preview

Shane LambertAnalyst IIAugust 18, 2011

Maria Sharapova
Maria SharapovaMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Premier Mandatory event in Cincinnati will continue on Thursday, and in one exciting match, two Russians will go head to head.

Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova are scheduled to meet in a third-round match on Thursday—two players who have been pretty evenly matched in the past.

Sharapova and Kuznetsova, currently ranked seventh and 13th, respectively, have met nine times in their careers with Sharapova holding only the slightest edge in their series, 5-4. On the hard court specifically, they have met a total of eight times with Sharapova currently holding a 5-3 edge on the cement.

The two players met last year in Cincinnati with Sharapova taking down a three-set match in the Round of 64.

Sharapova was the more efficient player in the second round of this year's WTA event in Cincinnati as well, as the world No. 7 defeated Anastasia Radionova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.

Kuznetsova, the 14th seed in Cincinnati, had a difficult time advancing to the third round, as she was extended to a third set against Petra Cetkovska before prevailing 6-4 in the deciding set.

Sharapova and Kuznetsova are second up on Center Court on Thursday following the Rafael Nadal versus Fernando Verdasco match.

Prediction: Sharapova in straigh sets.

Center Court start 11:00 am

F Verdasco (ESP) vs. [2] R Nadal (ESP) - ATP[14]

S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. [4] [WC] M Sharapova (RUS) - WTA