Australian Open women’s singles final: Can Sharapova finally end her free fall against Williams? Let’s see what the tennis stats are saying!

Maria Sharapova has 15 straight losses against Serena Williams and that downward spiral started in the semifinals of the 2005 Australian Open. Will the Russian finally stop the epic slump in the Saturday’s championship match at Melbourne Park? Let’s see what Omair‘s tennis stats, based on the performance of players so far at this year’s edition of the tournament, are suggesting.

Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova

I am not going into the history of Serena vs. Maria match-ups, as so much has been said about their previous encounters and head-to-head record. Yes, Sharapova’s countless losses will be a big factor and will definitely be at the back of her mind, but every day is a new day. Let’s see what the stats are saying!

SERENA WILLIAMS [1] vs. MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]

Head-to-head: Serena leads 16-2

  • Serena is stronger than Sharapova in the service department, as evidenced by her average of 12 aces per match against just two double faults, and 61% of first serves in, compared to just 56% by Sharapova.
  • Sharapova makes up for the above-mentioned disadvantage with her return of serve. Sharapova and Serena have won equal number of points on their opponents’ first serves, however, Sharapova has won 68% of points played behind her opponents’ second serves, while Serena has won 59% of those points.
  • Serena has been playing cleaner matches. The American has averaged a winners-to-unforced errors differential of +9 so far at tournament, while Sharapova has had an equal number of winners and unforced errors, making her differential 0.
  • Sharapova has been very strong in both saving and converting break points. The Russian has converted 49% of the break point chances she created, compared to just 39% by Serena. As for serve, Sharapova has saved 76% of break points she has faced, compared to 68% by Serena.

According to the numbers, if Sharapova is to win, she will have to:

  • Keep her double faults in check;
  • Improve her first serve percentage;
  • Reduce her unforced errors while staying aggressive;
  • Capitalize on the maximum break point chances she gets.

In short, Sharapova will have to play the match of her life in order to beat Serena Williams, if Serena is not having an off day. I think doing all the above things is too much to ask from Masha.

Having said everything, I will pick Sharapova nevertheless. Serena is the favorite, and she most probably will win, but I will stick to Sharapova. Who is your pick? Tell me in the comments! (photos: Jimmie48)

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19 thoughts on “Australian Open women’s singles final: Can Sharapova finally end her free fall against Williams? Let’s see what the tennis stats are saying!

  1. Marija Post author

    Sabey, Omair, I’ll pick Serena. I would like Masha to make a breakthrough, but Serena has been unbeatable for such a long time and she’s always extra good in important matches, plus given Masha’s record against her, I’ll have to choose Serena.

  2. ErinClare

    I would LOVE to see a strong opponent for Serena. Come on! But I don’t think Sharapova will be it.

  3. Jim

    Just like in ’13, Sharapova was playing a bunch of nobodies and everyone was handing her the title until she got waxed by Li Na in the semis. She will fall to Serena in 2 sets. Serena’s serve is so on right now.

  4. JohnnyB

    I agree with you Omair. This is Maria’s big chance against Serena. In the semifinal matches, Maria handled the world’s #10 player with ease from the start and throughout the match.
    Serena, however, had all she could handle with an unseeded player. Madison took it to her in the first set which Serena barely and luckily won in the tie breaker. In the second set, Serena lost 8 match points in the 7th game as Madison controlled the court and refused to lose. Serena was out of her mind while Madison was as cool as a cucumber. The crowd loved it – the best game of the Open.

  5. Forehand11

    Johnny, it doesn’t matter who was seeded or not. Madison played in this tournament waaaaaay better than E.Makarova, and Muguruza played better than Eugenie too.Serena didn’t luckily won the tie break, she made sure to stay agressive, intense but compose and hold her serve, that’s mental toughness not luck. Fortunately Serena has played strong openents and that will make her stronger mentally. If Serena is healthy and has her emotiions under control, there is no way Sharapova will win that match as Serena can handle her even if she plays the match of her life, SW still has the odds. Now, you never know with Serena, She’s a better player than Masha but still i can’t say who will win. ( i hope Serena though, we’re chasing history )

  6. Forehand11

    Saudin why all the hate on Masha though ?
    Omair Malik, at this point of the tournament, after everything she’s been through, if she is healthy che can beat the best Sharapova like in miami 2013. People think that Williams will crush her, but i think there will be a good match, and still i can tell who will win

  7. Jim

    Okay, with the marginal “tie-in” of Serena Williams being a minority owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (women’s tennis and American football)…who will win the Super Bowl on Sunday..the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks? 😉

  8. Emman Damian

    I think Maria can stop Serena on this fortnight. If Serena starts slow, Maria can take advantage of that. She is playing well in Australia reaching the final again this year for the fourth time. I know she’ll be a step further this year. Serena is definitely the favorite but considering how Maria is playing on all her matches in the last few weeks, she is clearly dominating everyone. This will be exciting since both of them are on a winning streak. So who of the two will get the first loss this year? It will be fun!

  9. Omair Malik

    Saudin, they are both great players, so youshould avoid being abusive.
    Forehand11,I did not say that healthy and best Serena will lose to best Sharapova. I just said that in Williams current state (she has some minor illness, she practiced for 5 mins yesterday too) if Sharapova plays the match of her life, she will win.
    However, putting aside everything, I want an entertaining, competitive 3 setter regardless of who wins 🙂

  10. jade

    What is this Omair dude talking about? Sharapova isn’t better than Serena on her worst day. Pova needs to improve her serve, come to the net, move better, slice and put more top spin. Her whole game needs work or she has to wait until Serena is gone to dominate the tour. And she has to hope that Azaranka, Keys and Muguruz not playing up to par

  11. Marija Post author

    Jade, Omair said that Serena is clear favorite, although he’s going to pick the underdog. Also, Serena has had losses to players far behind Sharapova (although few, but there have been), so why wouldn’t Sharapova be able to beat her under certain circumstances.

  12. JohnnyB

    Forehand 11, the tournament is over, but your comments about Makarova, Keys etc need an answer. Makarova beat Halep, the top ranked and the best player (other than the finalists) in the tournament. She also beat Plishkova higher ranked and playing better 2015 tennis than Muguruza. Makarova had the toughest draw of any semifinalist. Serena had the easiest. Serena didn’t play a top 10 player until the final.
    Tie breaks are a matter of luck especially when the winner wins by only 2 games. Both the 7-6 sets against Keys and Sharapova could have easily gone the other way. Obviously, players must have the best skills to reach a tie break, but it comes down to the player who is on for just a few points or a player who just misses on the crucial points.
    Congratulations to Serena!!

  13. Marija Post author

    Jade, it was a good final but throughout it Maria simply managed to stay competitive, in no moment did she threaten Serena.

  14. Forehand11

    JohnnyB, You know that tie-break is not a matter of chances, but how you handle it , the hot moments and the ability to hold serve. The tie-breakers won by SW didn’t go further thant 7-5 because she was able to have hold her serve all the time against keys and be super agressive on the return against Maria / that tie-break would have ended 7-1 if she hadn’t make 3 unusual unforced errors ( she wasn’t moving because she was obviously nervous ).
    About Makarova and Bouchard, i was talking about the way they played against Maria versus the way opponent played Serena, not their story during the tournament but the fight they pulled against Maria and Serena, respectively

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