The ninth seeded Maria Sakkari will be up against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova in the opening round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi. The match schedule is still to be decided but will be played on either January 6 or 7, 2021 with the timing still to be announced. Get the live streaming options of this Maria Sakkari v Anastasia Potapova match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Maria Sakkari v Anastasia Potapova Head to Head
This will be the second meeting between Sakkari and Potapova with the Russian having won their previous outing in 2017. That match had come in the qualifiers of the Miami Open of 2017.
Sakkari Consolidates after Breakout 2019
After having won her first WTA title in 2019, Sakkari went on to register two of her best Grand Slam performances last season. The Greek number one made it to the fourth round at both, the Australian Open and the US Open, and rounded it off with a third round appearance at the French Open.
What was interesting to note is Sakkari was one of the very few top players to have not played a single match during the pandemic lockdown – there were plenty of exhibition tournaments around the world – and stumbled in the first round of the Palermo Open soon after the break.
From there on, however, she turned things around rather well.
A quarterfinal run to the Cincinnati Open saw her get past Serena Williams, before she lost to the same opponent at the US Open in round four. A third round exit at the French Open was a surprise one but she followed it up with a semifinal at the Ostrava Open where she ended her season.
Can she pick up from where she left off last year?
Potapova Returns from Injury Woes
Russia’s teenager Potapova looked to be inching forward with her performances before the pandemic but an old ankle injury from 2019 flared up during the break and she needed undergo a surgery last July.
As a result, the two-time WTA tournament finalist had to withdraw from the entire remaining season that resumed in August, propelling the fall of her rankings from 85th in the world at that stage to outside the top 100.
Potapova, who had made it to three back to back quarterfinals last year including at the St. Petersburg Open where she was a qualifier, returned to courts in December following a rehabilitation period. And she will now hope to work things out again as she looks at 2021 to make a breakthrough.
Can she test her far superior pedigreed opponent here though?
Sakkari v Potapova Prediction and Tip
Sakkari will be a heavy favourite going into this one but there’s always that issue with rustiness for almost every player. Where she would have an advantage is Potapova hasn’t played since last March and it could take some time for her to get back to her best.
Tip: Under 19.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)