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Sharapova vs Garcia tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Sharapova out to revenge Stuttgart defeat to sixth seed Garcia in Montreal

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 9 Aug 2018
  • Maria Sharapova takes on sixth seed Caroline Garcia at the Rogers Cup on Thursday
  • Garcia vs Sharapova is live from Montreal on Thursday at 6.30pm local/11.30pm BST
Maria Sharapova (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

After roaring past Daria Kasatkina, Maria Sharapova takes on sixth seed Caroline Garcia for a place in the quarterfinals of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal on Thursday.

Playing the Rogers Cup for the first time in four years, Maria Sharapova looks to knock out another seed – and avenge a tough defeat in Stuttgart – as she takes on Caroline Garcia.

Sharapova has already won back-to-back matches in Montreal, the first time she had achieved such a thing since the clay season, to make the last 16. The Russian, who finished runner-up to Elena Dementieva in Toronto in 2009, is playing the Rogers Cup for the first time since 2014, and so far the Premier-5 event has seen her win her first hard-court matches since the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova and Garcia shake hands after their lengthy match in Stuttgart  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
The 2018 season has, as we know, been a stuttering affair for Sharapova and in that sense, is very much of a piece with her general fortunes since returning from her doping suspension last April. The Russian started brightly, with a run to the semifinals in Shenzhen, but her third-round defeat to Angelique Kerber in Melbourne was the start of a four-match losing streak that wasn’t snapped until Madrid in May. Clay was fruitful for the two-time French Open champion, who made the quarterfinals in Madrid, the semifinals in Rome and the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, but she skipped scheduled grass-court warm-up events and looked terrible in a first-round defeat to Vitalia Diatchenko at Wimbledon.

Returning to court for the first time since that defeat in Montreal, Sharapova struggled more with the weather than she did with her opponent in a first-round win over Sesil Karatantcheva that stretched over two days due to the rain, Sharapova leading 4-1 when play was rained off on Monday and polishing off a 6-1, 6-2 win over the qualifier on Tuesday.

Against a much, much tougher opponent in the form of 12th seed and Indian Wells runner-up Daria Kasatkina, Sharapova produced – almost out of nowhere – a stunning performance on Wednesday, limiting her younger compatriot to just two games in a 6-0, 6-2 victory that was, for me, the best tennis she has played (on hard courts, certainly) since before her doping suspension. Sharapova hit 25 winners to 23 unforced errors, but most impressive is the fact that she limited Kasatkina – a player of great talent and variety – to just three winners herself while frustrating the youngster into 17 unforced errors. No, Kasatkina was not at her best – she didn’t serve well or read Sharapova’s serve well, and was nowhere near aggressive enough, rolling far too many balls in to the middle of the court for Sharapova to polish off – but she honestly wasn’t given too many opportunities to do much. Sharapova’s return of serve was absolutely dazzling and she completely smothered her younger compatriot, giving her no room or space to breathe or be creative in the 76-minute victory.

The question for Sharapova is whether she can keep up the high level she abruptly found against Kasatkina. Tougher tests seem guaranteed to await – at the time of writing Simona Halep and Venus Williams are among potential quarterfinal opponents – and the Russian will know very well that she needs to beware of third-round opponent Caroline Garcia.

Caroline Garcia  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
It’s been rather a quiet year for Garcia so far, with no real repetition of the kind of dazzling form the Frenchwoman tapped into to win Wuhan and Beijing back-to-back – an unprecedented feat – at the end of last year, breaking into the top 10 and securing her first berth at the WTA Finals Singapore, where she made the semifinals. Currently at a career-high world no. 6 – but with the prospect of having to defend those Asia points very much looming – Garcia has recorded a 25-14 win-loss record in 2018, making the second weeks of both the French Open and the Australian Open (she lost in the fourth rounds to Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber respectively). 

Garcia impressed most in Stuttgart and Madrid, where she made back-to-back semifinals, but also made the quarterfinals in Doha, Dubai, Rome and Mallorca, although her Wimbledon campaign ended rather abruptly at the hands of Belinda Bencic in the first round. Back in action for the first time since Wimbledon in Montreal, having made the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto 12 months ago, Garcia secured her place in the third round with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Magdalena Rybarikova before enjoying a rest day on Wednesday.

Sharapova leads the head-to-head with Garcia 4-1, winning the first four they played in 2011-15 with Garcia winning just two sets in those matches. But their most recent encounter was also the most memorable: A two-hour, 45-minute match in Stuttgart which saw Garcia two points from defeat in the second set before she battled back for a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 victory.

Sharapova will be extremely eager to get revenge for that defeat when she faces Garcia on Thursday, and it must be said that she very well might get it. The Russian is playing so much better than she was back in Stuttgart, and her level against Kasatkina was sublime. Garcia will have to produce an absolutely stellar serving performance to avoid being ousted by Sharapova, who appears to be on a mission in Montreal.

Sharapova vs Garcia third-round tennis is live from Montreal on Thursday at 6.30pm local/11.30pm BST

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Sharapova vs Garcia tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Sharapova out to revenge Stuttgart defeat to sixth seed Garcia in Montreal

Caroline Garcia vs Maria Sharapova live streaming, preview and predictions for the Rogers Cup Montreal third-round match on Thursday 9 August 2018: After Sharapova’s dazzling beatdown of Daria Kasatkina, sixth seed Garcia could be in trouble

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