Having already previewed the Olympic semifinal between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, we are moving on to predicting the all-Russian one, between Maria Sharapova vs. Maria Kirilenko. Thank you, Omair, for contributing the article!
Maria Sharapova ended Kim Clijsters' Olympic dream 6-2 7-5 to set up an all-Russian semifinal against Maria Kirilenko. Earlier in the day, Kirilenko upset Petra Kvitova 7-6(3) 6-3, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, to make it to the medal match.
The pair has never played on grass before. Their most recent meeting came in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells this year, where Sharapova won in three sets. Will Kirilenko have a revenge? Let's have a look at the performance of the players so far at the 2012 Olympics.
Kirilenko has been better than Sharapova throughout the tournament, as the stats indicate.
Kirilenko has been serving at 71%, 11% more than Sharapova and has won 7% more points behind her first serve. Kirilenko leads Sharapova in the second serve department as well, winning a whopping 15% more points than her on second serve.
Sharapova is one of the best returners on the Tour at the moment, but Kirilenko has not been doing bad on returns either. Sharapova has won 4% more points than Kirilenko while returning the first serve, and 2% more points while returning the second serve. Sharapova's serve has not been consistent during the tournament. She is averaging five double faults per match, and she needs to clean her numbers to have a shot at the gold medal match.
There is not much difference in the winners-unforced errors differential as well, as Kirilenko stands at +3, while Sharapova is at +7.
The match will come down to the nerves of Kirilenko, and the serve of Sharapova. If Sharapova can keep her serve under control she will definitely be the favorite, however, if Kirilenko keeps on playing with these numbers she will walk off the court smiling.
Pick: Maria Sharapova in 3 sets. What do you think?