Generally speaking, if two tennis players have played each other as much as 20 times and you can name all the tournaments one of them has won against the other and the year those tournaments were played off the top of your head it usually means it’s a lopsided rivalry. One side has so few victories it’s easy to remember them. Unfortunately for Maria Sharapova, without even looking it up most hardcore tennis fans can tell you the 2 times she’s beaten Serena Williams, Wimbledon 2004 and the WTA Championship/Tour Finals 2004. So today is a happy day for Masha. She blasted a career high 21 aces to edge 12th seed Belinda Bencic 7-5 7-5 in the fourth round of the 2016 Australian Open. Bencic might be part of the future of the tour, but Masha is still part of its present. Now Sharapova gets to reprise last year’s Aussie Open final match against her nemesis, Serena Williams, this time in the quarters. Serena is playing like she’s a little peeved that so many people have picked Victoria Azarenka to win this event despite all that Serena has done in the Majors both in her career and the last couple of years. The world #1 can send a message with another romp against Sharapova. On the other hand, Masha can send the tennis world a message about her fight and resiliency by ignoring her 2-18 record against Serena and taking down the top seed.
5 MARIA SHARAPOVA d. 12 Belinda Bencic, 7-5 7-5