x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Sharapova not taking Peng's game for granted

The only Chinese player left in the women's draw can hit the ball flat, low and deep, acknowledges the Russian of her fourth-round rival.

Shuai Peng hopes to continue her run of form.
Shuai Peng hopes to continue her run of form.

Peng Shuai, China's last hope at Wimbledon, said she will be ready for Maria Sharapova when the 20th seed goes head to head with the Russian 2004 champion.

Peng and fifth seed Sharapova meet in a fourth-round clash on the 4,000-seater Court 2 today for a place in the quarter-finals.

Sharapova was full of praise for the Chinese No 2 and said she would have to be well prepared to face the 25 year old.

"She has a great game for the grass," the Siberian said. "She hits really flat, stays quite low. Her balls come pretty deep. The last time we played was in Indian Wells. It was a tough match. She's playing some of the best tennis of her career. No doubt she'll be out there playing loose and good tennis so I'll have to be ready."

Peng said: "I will also have to be ready because she's a really good player. Her game is also good on grass because she's tall, has a big serve, forehand and backhand.

"I will try to fight and play hopefully some good tennis.

"I played her this year in Indian Wells. It was a tough match. I will try again this time.

"I will try to keep my run going. My confidence is better than before because last year I didn't play that many tournaments but this year I played a lot of matches."

Sharapova won that quarter-final at Indian Wells in three sets and beat Peng on the Berlin clay in 2005. However, the Chinese won on their only other clash on the Beijing hard courts in 2008.

Peng is planning on taking it easy ahead of today's match-up.

Besides the singles, she is in the ladies' doubles with compatriot Zheng Jie, where they are seeded eighth. They made it through to the final 32 with a first-round win on Saturday.

"I'm going to rest because the schedule is really tough. In the first four days I only played one match and then now it's singles, doubles, singles, doubles, so it's a bit tiring," Peng said.

Peng has equalled her best grand slam performance, having made the fourth round at this year's Australian Open.

Peng is the only remaining Chinese in the singles after Li Na, the French Open winner, was beaten by Germany's Sabine Lisicki and Zheng Jie went out to the Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi in the second round. Peng is on a career-high world ranking of 20 and is the highest-ranked player without a singles title to her name. She made it into the fourth round by beating Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-2, 7-6 on Saturday.