The world number 22 Maria Sakkari will take on American talent Cori Gauff in the second round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi. This match will be played on Saturday, January 9, the encounter likely to begin at around 2:30 pm local time (8:30 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Maria Sakkari v Cori Gauff match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Maria Sakkari v Cori Gauff Head to Head
There has been just one match between these two players before this with Sakkari winning that in the first round of the Cincinnati Open in 2020. She had won that 6-1, 6-3.
Sakkari Makes Short Work of Potapova
Having come into her first round match against Anastasia Potapova as a 1/4 favourite, Sakkari showed why the bookmakers had her that short for this encounter. Sakkari wasted no time getting into the contest, and completed a rather facile 6-4, 6-2 victory.
In a match lasting nearly an hour and a half, Sakkari broke Potapova in the third game of the first set and then retained that sole break of serve till it was her turn to serve it out at 5-4. Potapova had three break-points in that game but failed to convert either as Sakkari tightened the noose around her opponent.
It became rather one-way traffic in the second set, when Sakkari repeated the dose from the opening set by first breaking Potapova in the third game and then doubling that advantage with another break in the fifth. Some time later, the Greek number one serve out for the match to proceed to the round two.
It was only in 2019 that Sakkari had won her maiden WTA title – on the clay courts of Rabat – and then did reasonably well for the kind of season which was on offer in 2020. A fourth round at each of the Australian Open and the US Open and two other semifinals – at St. Petersburg Open and in Ostrava – were the highlights of her season and she will now look to go further into tournament weeks this year.
And to be able to do that, she would be tested here by a precocious talent.
Gauff Ekes Out Easy Win over Eikeri
Gauff was 3/100 going into her match against Ulrikke Eikeri and stop short of one game in which her opponent managed to hold on to her serve, the American teenager did everything that was expected out of her.
She started out by holding to love and then broke her Norwegian opponent immediately afterward, and while she faced a few break-points in the next game once she had held on again, there was no looking back.
A further four breaks of serves followed, as Gauff wrapped up a 6-0, 6-1 victory in an hour and nine minutes to set up this encounter with Sakkari.
Gauff had played in just two tournaments before the pandemic break in 2020 and came back to make it to the semifinals at the Lexington Open in her best post-pandemic showing. She also lost five of her next seven main draw matches including one to Sakkari and will hope this opening round win keeps her in a good stead coming into this second round encounter.
Sakkari v Gauff Prediction and Tip
This could be a tight encounter but one we think Sakkari holds the aces including slightly more experience and a previous win over Gauff, which is also why we expect her to win this.
Tip: Sakkari to win: 4/6 (bet365)