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Sharapova vs Xinyu Wang WTA Shenzhen Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Sharapova continues Shenzhen bid against Wang in Round 2

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 1 Jan 2019
  • Maria Sharapova vs Xinyu Wang is live from Shenzhen on Wednesday 2 January from 12:30pm local time/ 4:30am GMT
  • Sharapova firm favourite to progress against the talented Chinese teenager
Maria Sharapova. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova continues her quest for the Shenzhen Open title when she takes on Chinese teenager, Xinyu Wang in the second round on Wednesday.

Sharapova had opened her season with victory over Timea Bacsinszky, seeing off the Swiss 6-2 7-6 after an hour and 42 minutes.

The Russian trailed 0-2 in the first set, but she soon hit her strides, reeling off six games in a row to bag the opener. Bacsinszky offered greater resistance in the second set, and served to level the match at 5-3, but she couldn't close it out, and would eventually lose the set and the match in the ensuing tie break. 

Sharapova is playing her first tournament since the US Open after shutting down her 2018 season following a fourth-round loss to Carla Suarez Navarro at Flushing Meadows. She had been struggling with a right shoulder injury.

The former world No. 1 had begun her season with semi-final in Shenzhen; she was then well beaten by Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Australian Open, and did not win a match for the next three months.

Her year was again disrupted by injuries, as an arm problem forced her out of the Miami Open, while she also withdrew from Birmingham, San Jose and Cincinnati during the course of the campaign. In all, she played just 11 tournaments all year. Sharapova's best run was on clay, with a semi-final in Rome sandwiched between quarter final appearances in Madrid and Roland Garros. Her clay-court form lifted her into the top 30 for the first time since the expiration of her doping ban in April 2017, and despite her below par second half of the year, she maintained that top-30 ranking, finishing at No. 29.

Competing in Shenzhen for the second straight year, can she make it back-to-back quarter finals in the Chinese city by taking down local hope Wang on Wednesday?

Playing just her third WTA tournament, 17-year-old Wang bagged her first win in the opening round in Shenzhen, defeating compatriot, Fang Ying Xun 7-6 6-4.

Xinyu Wang. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
She made her tour-level main draw debut at the 2018 Australian Open, having won the Asia-Pacific wildcard play-off, but was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Alize Cornet in the first round in Melbourne. Wang returned to the WTA scenery in Guangzhou in September, but fell just short against Deniz Khazaniuk in her opening match, losing 6-4 4-6 6-3.

She might not have had much joy in her brief venture into the big league, but she had plenty of success on the ITF Tour, claiming her first title at the 25K meet in Nonthaburi, Thailand, finishing second in Maribor (15K) and reaching the semi-finals at the 60K tournament in Liuzhou. Wang also made the semis at the Australian Open and Wimbledon Girls singles. She won the doubles titles in both tournaments.

The rising star climbed over 400 ranking spots in 2018, jumping from 765 to a year-end mark of 309, and she looks set to keep rising in 2019.

There's plenty of excitement about Wang's potentials, and the locals will definitely be out in force to support the Shenzhen-born teenager on Wednesday as she takes on one of the powerhouses of the women's game.

Her time will surely come, but Sharapova should have too much experience and know-how for the talented youngster.

Maria Sharapova vs Xinyu Wang is live from Shenzhen on Wednesday 2 January from 12:30pm local time/ 4:30am GMT

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Sharapova vs Xinyu Wang WTA Shenzhen Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Sharapova continues Shenzhen bid against Wang in Round 2

Maria Sharapova continues her quest for the Shenzhen title on Wednesday when she plays Xinyu Wang in Round 2. Can Sharapova avoid the major upset? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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