World number 24 Maria Sakkari will be up against Russian qualifier and shock winner of her opener, Kamilla Rakhimova in their second round of the 2020 French Open. This match will be played on Wednesday, September 30 and could begin at around 12.00 pm local time (11.00 am BST). Get the live streaming options of this Maria Sakkari v Kamilla Rakhimova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Maria Sakkari v Kamilla Rakhimova Head to Head
This will be the first time that Sakkari and Rakhimova will be facing off in a competitive encounter.
Sakkari Thwarts Late Comeback from Tomljanovic
Sakkari’s only match on clay this season before the French Open had come at the Palermo Open and surely enough she went down in that opener, losing to Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets.
So while a quarterfinal in the Cincinnati Open and a fourth round appearance at the US Open would have given her oodles of confidence, the fact Sakkari hadn’t played much on clay all year would have been a psychological challenge to surmount for the Greek.
Or so one thought anyway.
The manner in which started off in her opener against Ajla Tomljanovic would have sent ripples on the tennis circuit – or at least those in her quarter of the draw! She did not face a single break point in the entirety of the first set and broke her Aussie opponent thrice in the process to complete a bagel.
Which is why when Tomljanovic came back to break Sakkari in the very first game of the second set, it came out as bit of a surprise. No worries though for Sakkari, who broke back immediately – the fourth in a row – before they repeated this sequence in the fifth and the six game as well.
In the seventh game of the second set, Sakkari was broken to love, and then had to serve to stay in the match at 3-5. She did just that, broke right back before saving a further of two more break-points to wrap up three games in a row. And with the pressure squarely on Tomljanovic, Sakkari broke her opponent again on the second chance she got to win the match in straight sets.
Her 19-year-old opponent in this match will need to start off much more aggressively.
Qualifier Rakhimova Shocks Shelby Rogers
In 2019, aged 17, Rakhimova won her first ever ITF title. She followed it up with four more in the same season, to go with a couple other finals.
What that run did was to give her a chance to participate in the Australian Open qualifiers but she fell in the very first round there. She got her second chance at making the main draw of a Grand Slam at the French Open, but not too many would have given her much of a chance.
After all, even those ITF titles, four of the five of them, had come on hard court and just one was on clay.
Rakhimova made it to the main draw with a shock win over Ann Li, a 20-year-old who had earlier been to the third round of the US Open and was 1/3 favourite to win their encounter.
Making the main draw at a Grand Slam would have been a dream come true for Rakhimova but when she won her last point against Shelby Rogers in her opener here, her reaction said it all. It was that of a combination of extreme joy and disbelief – here was a 189th-ranked rank outsider who had beaten the 55th-ranked American to enter round two of a Grand Slam.
Her journey might not last too long from here on but a solid performance here would give her the kind of confidence she would need for the tournaments ahead as well.
Sakkari v Rakhimova Prediction and Tip
While Sakkari should win this in straight sets, the possible issue she might face is her opponent’s unknown factor and the bizarre conditions which have caused problems for many a top players on day one. Might get her to drop the odd game or two.
Tip: Over 18.5 games in the match: 1/1 (bet365)