On Saturday, Maria Sharapova returns to the hardcourts to take on Julia Goerges in the second (live streaming & TV times) round of the BNP Paribas Open 2014 from Indian Wells. A March 8, 2014 ESPN report indicates this will be the Russian beauty’s first appearance since the lighting of the torch during last month’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Kamakshi Tandon highlights the 26-year-old’s journey from a little girl growing up in Chernobyl to becoming the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Shortly after arriving at Indian Wells, Calif., for this year’s tournament, the 4-time Grand Slam champion spoke about her experience back home.
“Probably the torch was the biggest honor I could have received,” Sharapova told reporters this week. “Just even in the lead up to running on the stadium, the atmosphere before – being in the green room with everyone that was part of the opening ceremonies and to see everyone come out.
“We’re just, you know, creating a little part of our history, to be in the Olympics. It was the first time I had all of my family watching me, as well – my grandparents, both of my parents, were there. So that never really happens. It was really unique.”
In tonight’s live streaming/TV scheduled match from Stadium 1, “Masha” begins her quest for a second straight BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) title and the fourth of her illustrious career. Standing in her way is 86th ranked German, Julia Goerges, who’s looking for her first win against the fourth-ranked Sharapova.
“After Sochi, it’s great to come back and get back on the court,” she added. “Obviously [a] great memory here last year, so it’s nice to be back.”
According to tennis oddsmakers, Maria Sharapova should have very little trouble disposing of Julia Goerges [+325 ML] this evening, listing her as a -525 money-line favorite. The OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 20 games, and alternate spreads have Sharapova at -5 [-101] and Goerges at +5 [-115].
Will the former world No.1 get her BNP Paribas Open title-defense off to a strong start, or will the long layoff affect her rhythm in this second round match?
Don’t miss Maria Sharapova taking on Julia Goerges tonight from Stadium 1 from Indian Wells, Calif., following the conclusion of Roger Federer vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Tune to Tennis Channel for TV coverage beginning around 7:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. CST/5:30 p.m. MST/4:30 p.m. PST), or simply click here to watch ESPN’s free live streaming feed online on a desktop or mobile (Internet) devices.