WTA Madrid - Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki (09:55 BST)

Maria Sharapova (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova takes on Sabine Lisicki today in the third round of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open (09:55 BST start).

When Sharapova stepped on court on Wednesday in Madrid, it wasn't too far away from midnight in the Spanish capital. Seemingly eager to avoid pulling an all-nighter, she turned on the style to set up a third round meeting with Lisicki, beating American qualifier Christina McHale, 6-1 6-2.

"It was important to be ready and start quickly, especially since we started so late," Sharapova said after wrapping up the win.

"I knew I had to be focused from the very beginning, and I think I did a good job with that today."

Following her triumph over McHale, Sharapova has now won 18 clay court matches in a row, dating back to last year when she was beaten by Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of this event. She should be feeling ready for the threat of Lisicki, who has troubled her in the past.

Last year's grass court season showcased this, with Lisicki beating Masha at Wimbledon, and the Russian returning the favour at the Olympics.

Lisicki has tested Sharapova on hardcourts and grass, but past form probably won't count for much today. There's some top quality clay on the courts, and this provides a real boost to the French Open champion's chances. Lisicki, meanwhile, can rely on the altitude to make her big serve a little more dangerous, but she could have her work cut out.

Prediction: Sharapova in three.

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WTA Madrid - Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki (09:55 BST)

Maria Sharapova takes on Sabine Lisicki today in the third round of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open (09:55 BST start).

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