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.
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  vs. MARIA SHARAPOVA 
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)