After surviving a first-round scare, as reported by ESPN on April 23, 2014, Maria Sharapova is set to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Round of 16 of the 2014 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, will be the site for this world-class tennis matchup, which will be streaming live and free of charge on ESPN3 beginning at 8:20 a.m. EST (7:20 a.m. CST/6:20 a.m. MST/5:20 a.m. PST).
On Tuesday, the 2-time defending Stuttgart champion had to dig deep in order to get passed a very tough opponent in Lucie Safarova. The 27-year-old Czech took Sharapova the distance for the third straight time in their head-to-head meetings, but would eventually lose by a final score of 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2) after 3 hours and 24 minutes.
The victory, which marked her 100th win on a clay, was also a belated gift, as it came just three days after the Russian beauty turned 27 years-old. However, “Masha” has no time to celebrate, as she will now face another tough opponent in the form of a Russian countrywoman.
As reported by Maria Sharapova’s official site on April 22, the 22-year-old from Samara has proven to be a tall task for the tournament favorite in the past. In fact, these players come in tied at one win apiece in their head-to-head series, making this morning’s match the tiebreak.
Ranked 25th in the world, Pavlyuchenkova defeated Sharapova (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) when they met earlier this season at the Open GDF Suez in Paris, France. One has to look all the way back to the 2010 Cincinnati Masters 2010 in order to find the only victory from the world’s No.9 in this matchup.
Tennis fans around the world cannot afford to miss what is sure to be a highly contested all-Russian affair. Watch Maria Sharapova take on Sharapova vs Pavlyuchenkova in the Round of 16 at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2014. Click on the link provided above to view the action live and 100 percent free of charge on ESPN3.