No matter how good of a match that Russian Maria Sharapova and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard play on Monday in the WTA Madrid Open, it might not live up to the post-match handshake between the two as there is likely to be no love lost between them. Sharapova is a -723 favourite on Sports Interaction’s tennis odds to advance at the clay-court French Open warm-up tournament. Bouchard is +419.
Sharapova Vs. Bouchard Odds
Sharapova recently returned from a 15-month suspension she received after testing positive for meldonium, which is considered a performance-enhancing drug. The former world No. 1 tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open and originally was banned for two years by the World Anti-Doping Agency but had it reduced on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sharapova didn’t deny taking the cardiac drug but said she was unaware it had been added to the banned list at the beginning of 2016.
Sharapova, who has slipped to No. 258 in the world, returned to the Tour in late April by getting a wild-card entry into the Stuttgart Open. Bouchard, who used to consider Sharapova an idol, felt the Russian shouldn’t have been allowed to ever play again.
“She’s a cheater and so to me, I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again,” Bouchard said. “I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms. I don’t think that’s right and [she is] definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore.”
Bouchard is hardly the only player to feel that way but had the strongest public statement on the matter. It’s not clear if Sharapova will be allowed wild-card entry into the French Open later this month. A decision is expected on May 16. Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam champion who won the French in 2012 & ’14.
Sharapova has played only four matches in 2017 and is 3-1. She advanced to the second round in Madrid – she won the event in 2014 — with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over 17th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. That match took two hours and 12 minutes. Sharapova had seven breaks of Lucic-Baroni’s serve.
Bouchard, ranked 60th in the world, has had a disappointing start to the year with a 7-9 singles record. She reached the Round of 32 at the Australian Open but then lost in the first round of her next five tournaments. Bouchard advanced in Madrid with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win over Alize Cornet.
Sharapova is 4-0 all-time vs. Bouchard. They last met in the 2015 Australian Open, a 6-3, 6-2 Sharapova victory. They last played on clay in the 2014 French Open semifinals, won 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 by Sharapova. It’s the only set Bouchard has won against her.
Bouchard has more double faults (48) than aces (38) in 2017 and is winning only 60.7 per cent of her first serve points. By comparison, Sharapova is winning better than 79 per cent of the points on her first serve.
The winner will most likely face top seed and world No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany. She’s a sizable betting favourite over Katerina Siniakova. Bouchard is 3-2 in her career vs. Kerber but lost the most recent meeting in the Rio Olympic Games.
Sharapova Vs. Bouchard Predictions
Sharapova is -435 to win the first set with Bouchard at +279. The favoured exact result is Sharapova winning in straight sets at -226. On the total match games prop, the number is 18.5, with the over a -132 favourite. Both players are likely to be fired up to face the other. Sharapova wins in three sets (+294), so go over the 18.5 games.