Lawn Tennis
Maria Sharapova To Meet Serena Williams Friday
By Tripp Mateschitz, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Friday, April 18, 2008 6:20am CST USA
Maria Sharapova To Meet Serena Williams Friday
Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams
CHARLESTON--( Two former world number ones 2nd seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia and 5th seeded Serena Williams of the USA meet in the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup Friday in their first ever meeting on clay.

And while neither player would pick clay as her favorite surface due to the slower pace and surface of the court, both players have experienced some success on the surface.
Family Circle Cup
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
April 14-20, 2008
Friday: Women's Quarterfinals

Women's Singles: Quarterfinals
Maria Sharapova (RUS) [2] vs. Serena Williams (USA) [5]

Sharapova claimed her first career claycourt title last week at Amelia Island, Florida. In 2002 Williams won claycourt titles at Rome and at the French Open.

Head to head Williams leads Sharapova 4-2, winning their last meeting 6-1, 6-1 at Miami, Florida last year. Williams destroyed Sharapova in their last two matches winning also last year at the Australian Open final 6-1, 6-2. Sharapova; however, has it appears solved her poor serving problems which hurt her game in the last year and a half due in part to a shoulder injury. Sharapova changed her service motion and showcased extreme power and consistency in Melbourne this year in January to take her third grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Sharapova and Williams both this year have posted outstanding won/loss WTA Tour records. Sharapova is 22-1 while Williams is 16-1. Both players will bring powerful groundstrokes to the court Friday, but I think Williams is a far better defensive player than Sharapova. Although Williams has not needed to play much defensive at all in her last two matches against Sharapova, she I think will come under fire Friday. If Williams can play good defense and then also keep her offensive groundstrokes inside the court she will be very tough to beat.

Sharapova will not be able to play effective defense due to her mostly one note offensive game. Sharapova does not really have a Plan B, which is why I think even if Williams loses a set, she will then simply change tactics to pull out the match.
Winner: Williams

ESPN2 is scheduled to televise the match live at 12:00pm-1:30pm CST USA.

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