Sharapova survived a gruelling start to the US Open series in her victory over Jennifer Brady Monday night. She ascribed the rough second set to a lack of focus she can only hope to have recovered by the time she steps back onto the court for her second round match against seventh seed Tsurenko. The 28-year-old Ukrainian has three singles titles to her name and turned pro over ten years ago, and yet the two have never played each other. Such an experienced opponent who is not quickly intimidated and will seize any lapse in concentration will prove difficult for Sharapova.
That said, Sharapova may have two big legs up over Monday’s match. The first day of school jitters are behind her and she can expect more support from the fans in the second round. In her return to tennis, Sharapova has repeatedly emphasized how important fan support has become for her, saying she draws a distinction between simply appreciating fans and “understanding what a fan truly is” and taking personally her responsibility to them. Monday’s night match had the second highest attendance for a first night at Stanford, bested only by a 2009’s opening Monday when Sharapova also headlined.
However, American Brady drew the bulk of vocal crowd support during this first round match. That said, it seems likely that with a Ukrainian opponent, Sharapova, who maintains a residence in California could benefit from significantly more energy behind her.
Prediction: Sharapova in three sets
Garbiñe Muguruza  vs Kayla Day
Fresh off her win at Wimbledon, Muguruza better be ready for a fight. Seventeen-year-old California native Day only played the Spaniard once, and she lost the match, but not without winning a set and causing a great deal of frustration. When the two met at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March, Day took the first set 6-3, played 5-7 in the second, before losing 2-6 in the third.
While the decider did not turn out to be that close, it should be enough to give Muguruza a moment of pause before she steps on the court to face Day in the second round here at Stanford. Muguruza received a bye in the first round, making this her first match since she won at Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Day has been playing in both the singles and doubles draws, beating Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.
Prediction: Muguruza in two sets but with a shaky start
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