After successfully defending her title at Stuttgart last year, Maria Sharapova returns to Germany as the No.6 seed at this week's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix bidding to achieve something she has not yet accomplished in her career? win the same event three times.
But this week, there is more on the line for Sharapova. With 470 ranking points to defend this week, Sharapova will need to at least reach the semifinals in order to stay in the Top 10. The Russian has been ranked inside the Top 10 for 160 consecutive weeks, dating back to April 4, 2011.
With 29 career WTA titles, including seven on clay, and the best clay-court match win percentage among all active players, Sharapova opens her quest to three-peat against Lucie Safarova, a rematch of their 3-set, second round match last year in Stuttgart. This will be their fifth head-to-head meeting, with Sharapova holding a 3-1 advantage, winning the last two meetings in 3-sets.
Earlier this week Sharapova celebrated her 27th birthday in style and she aims to continue her celebration as the week progresses.
Take a look at Maria's draw in Stuttgart and her potential match-ups