Archie likes the Petkovic moonwalk, but he's still picking Sharapova to make the semis.
As many of you already know, I have taken on some help with my tennis blog. Archie, the handsome boy pictured above, has signed on for the remainder of the French Open to help me handicap the matches. He's got a pretty keen nose for the game, so please pay attention to what he says or he might bite you.
See Archie's Azarenka-Li pick here
See Archie's Nadal-Soderling pick here
Archie's Pick: Sharapova
Why: Petko has come a long way, making her second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal, but I just have a feeling about Maria.
My Pick: Sharapova
Why: Maria has finally broken through to another Grand Slam quarterfinal -- it's been two-plus years of struggle and strife for her since returning from shoulder surgery-- and the beautiful thing about her play in that time is that she's never wavered in intensity or desire. Maria's mental toughness is legendary, and those who watch her regularly are in awe of how strong she is in that department.
As far as her game goes, Sharapova is definitely not the smoothest or most nuanced player on the women's tour, but what she might lack in the subtleties (footwork and volleys), she more than makes up for in her uncanny ability to destroy anything that gets into her strike zone.
Petkovic scored a massive win over Sharapova in Australia earlier this year, and she's backed up that quarterfinal win with a clay title in Strasbourg and several other big wins throughout the course of the spring. Her challenge tomorrow will be to keep Maria on the run and to take her out of her comfort zone. She'll have to serve well to do so, but even though Petkovic isn't a huge server, if she's smart about where she serves, and is able to hit her spots, she might be able to keep the vaunted Sharapova return game from hurting her too much.
Petkovic is 4-1 vs. Top 10 players this year, and only Wozniacki has more wins than her 33. She's also bidding to become the first German to reach the Roland Garros semis since Steffi Graf in 1999.
Sharapova is 8-0 in 3-set matches this year, and she's bidding for her fourth Grand Slam title. If she gets it she'll also become the 10th woman to complete the Career Grand Slam.
See Sharapova-Petkovic H2H below.