World No. 1 Naomi Osaka will start her campaign in the 2019 WTA Birmingham Open on Tuesday. She will face the Greek prodigy Maria Sakkari in the opener on June 18 and the match will start after 12:00 pm local time. Get Naomi Osaka v Maria Sakkari live streaming options with the preview here.
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Naomi Osaka v Maria Sakkari Head to Head
The head to head tally is currently tied at 1-1. They last met in the 2018 Cincinnati Masters where Sakkari evened the tally with a straight-set win.
Osaka Heading on a Tricky Surface
On Monday, ahead of her first round fixture in Birmingham, Osaka admitted that grass is a surface that she isn’t quite comfortable with. However, she is looking forward to that challenge and is eager to master the courts, just in time for Wimbledon.
The current US Open champion lost quite early in Paris a couple of weeks ago, allowing her to have her first big vacation this year. Following that much-needed rest, Osaka is back in action and certainly appears to be ready for what is set to be a crucial tournament.
Osaka is a part of an already star-studded lineup, with things set to get complicated for her if she progresses. She has had a pretty remarkable season so far and has done well to stay World No. 1. But this time, it may not be that simple as Ash Barty is right around the corner and her record on grass is fairly better than Osaka’s.
The Japanese is yet to win a title on grass and it will be intriguing to see if she manages to break the jinx this time around.
Sakkari, Ready to March On
The 23-year-old Greek started her grass season last week in Nottingham, where she lost to Jennifer Brady in the quarterfinal. That run certainly helped her get ready for the grass swing and now, she looks confident to deliver a massive upset.
Sakkari has had a pretty impressive year up until now, winning the title in Rabat and reaching the semifinal in the Italian Open as a qualifier. In Rome, she defeated some big guns like Anett Kontaveit and Petra Kvitova before falling to Karolina Pliskova.
The young Greek is certainly a formidable opponent and is packing a lot of firepower to pose problems for Osaka. She is also quite experienced in terms of playing against top players.
Osaka v Sakkari Predictions & Tips
While Osaka will start as the favourite here, truth to be told, anything can happen. The Japanese has been handed a tough opening match in Birmingham and given the type of player that Sakkari is, this match is not going to be a straight-set affair.
Expect a lot of quality shots, good tennis and all in all, a highly competitive affair.
Tip: Over 19.5 games in the match. (888Sport)