Maria Sharapova, who has been playing stunning tennis in Melbourne so far, is going to meet the in-form Belgian, Kirsten Flipkens, on Sunday and that match might prove to be the first real test for the Russian.

Match: Kirsten Flipkens vs Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Source: Christian Mesiano @ Flickr

Selection: Over 16 games

Best Odds: 1.87 @ Pinnacle

At first glance, this might look like yet another really easy victory for the in-form Russian, who has surprised everyone by dealing with Venus Williams for the loss of just four games. However, things might actually be a little bit more complicated this time around, as Flipkens has been playing really good tennis in recent weeks and will be keen to win at least a few games against the the world’s number two.

It is important to note that Maria Sharapova was really motivated to play well against Venus Williams, but she might be a bit less concerned about this match, as there is not as much pride on the line here and any victory, no matter how big, will surely do. Serena Williams was in a similar position yesterday and lost some concentration at the beginning of the second set, losing three games in a row against Morita, and I can see something similar happening today.

Furthermore, Flipkens is an experienced campaigner and it seems clear that she likes the conditions in Melbourne, so she should know what to do in order to get at least something against the Russian – after all, she can hit with enough power and go forward whenever needed. She is not going to win, of course, but winning four or five games should not be a gargantuan task really and I think that she is going to get that job done today.