Maria Sharapova will take on Klara Zakopalova on Tuesday for a place in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open
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Maria Sharapova has been enjoying a terrific 2012 season, and her difficulties in coping with Victoria Azarenka seemed to evaporate into thin air in Stuttgart. The Russian, seeded second this week, should be one of the main contenders here. Though clay isn’t necessarily Sharapova’s best surface, she eased into round two on Sunday with a confident 6-0, 6-3 thrashing of Irina-Camelia Begu.
“The blue clay is obviously different, visually,” said Sharapova, commenting on the unique surface at the Magic Box. “When you play on red clay for so many years you get used to it, but as tennis players we're always adjusting to different things and different conditions, so it is what it is. There are some parts of the courts that maybe have a little more clay than other parts, but it's just the first year, so I'm sure they're still working kinks out.”
Sharapova will now meet Klara Zakopalova in round two. Zakopalova got past Iveta Benesova in straight sets in the opening round. She should be pretty pleased about her 6-4, 7-6(5) success, as Benesova has produced some quality displays this season.
Sharapova has a 1-1 head to head record against Zakopalova, but after cruising past the Czech last year at Wimbledon (6-2, 6-3), she should have the momentum. Also, considering Sharapova’s recent form, Zakopalova will have to think very carefully about her strategy here if she wants to stand a chance.