Agnieszka Radwanska won't have to play against Maria Sharapova in the Wta Stuttgart 2017 event. That was one potential second-round match-up for both players in Sharapova's section of the draw. However, the Polish player lost in the first round of the tournament in Germany on Tuesday to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets (6-2, 6-4). Sharapova, who will see her suspension end on Wednesday, would play Makarova if the former World No. 1 is able to beat Roberta Vinci in their upcoming match.

Radwanska's struggles continue

Radwanska has really had a tough time this year on the WTA Tour. On year-to-date rankings she's only the 23rd-best player on tour and her result in Stuttgart certainly won't help.

While the eventual champion at the event will get 470 ranking points, there's practically nothing for someone that goes out in the first round. In truth, there's fair reason to be skeptical of Radwanska's chances of turning things around in the upcoming events.

The WTA's events will be played on clay for the next several weeks. That's a surface that Radwanska has openly admitted that she has had trouble with. Last year on May 11th, writing at StraitTimes.com, she wrote:

"On a hard court you can slide but you can also stop quickly and change direction. I can't do that on clay. On clay I slide into the corner to hit a ball and before I can even stop and run the other way, I see my opponent has hit the ball to the other corner.

How can that happen? I'm still sliding the opposite way!"

Radwanska clearly has a preference for the hard-court surface and that could be evident in her results in the weeks ahead. I don't think much can be expected of her at the 2017 French Open when play gets under way at Roland Garros in May.

Radwanska criticized the Wild-Card system

She was also one of the players that didn't really like Sharapova getting a Wild Card into the Stuttgart event. She stated that she felt that Wild Cards were “Not for those suspended for doping” (Radwanska qtd. at MovieTVTechGeeks.com, April 25th). However, Sharapova is in the draw nonetheless and she has an opportunity to do some damage.

First up is Roberta Vinci on Wednesday and then, surviving that, a match against Ekaterina Makarova in the second round. If Sharapova does well in Stuttgart, she may yet face all of Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Karolina Pliskova. There's certainly no shortage of talent in Stuttgart this week even though it's a mid-tiered tournament.

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