Top seeded Sofia Kenin will face the Greek challenge of Maria Sakkari in the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi quarterfinal on Monday, January 11, with the match likely to begin at around 5.30 pm local time (1.30 pm BST or 7:30 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Sofia Kenin v Maria Sakkari match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Sofia Kenin v Maria Sakkari Head to Head
Both their previous meetings came in 2018, and at Grand Slam tennis. Kenin leads 2-0 after defeating Sakkari in three sets in both the matches; the first at the Wimbledon first round that year and then at the second round of the US Open.
Sakkari Passes the Muguruza Test
Garbine Muguruza struggled with her own game in the third round of her match against Sakkari, hitting a mere five winners in the entire encounter but that shouldn’t take away from the manner in which the Greek came through in straight sets to make it to the quarterfinal.
Sakkari piled on another victory against a top-20 player, needing almost two hours to oust the fifth seeded Spaniard in straight sets. She won 7-5, 6-4 to take a 1-0 lead over Muguruza on head to head.
In sharp contrast to Muguruza’s struggles, Sakkari also carved out 22 winners in the match along with 11 aces, and one other important factor in getting past the Spaniard was her ability to play the bigger points much better.
Most times she faced break-points, Sakkari came away with a powerful serve or a solid groundstroke to save them, as a result she was broken just once in the entire match while meting out the same treatment to her opponent on three occasions.
This win follows Sakkari’s solid run that has already seen her crash through Anastasia Potapova and Cori Gauff in her previous two rounds.
Kenin Survives Putintseva Scare
While she is the defending Australian Open champion and a runnerup at the French Open, Kenin hasn’t had the best of time so far at this Abu Dhabi Open. She has shown she is vulnerable and for the second match in running it looked like her issues were going to be laid bare.
Kenin fell a set behind to Putintseva and while the American then took a 5-2 lead in the second, she lost three games in a row to be pushed into the tie-breaker. There, Putintseva held the early mini-break, and was up 3-1 but Kenin slowly came back into the contest to 5-4 up and then wrap it up 7-5.
The final set saw fortunes fluctuate every game; Kenin grabbed the first break only to lose the initiative before breaking her opponent twice to serve for the match at 5-2. Putintseva gave a last fighting effort to grab one break back before falling 6-4.
Earlier, Kenin was down a set to Kirsten Flipkens before a freak injury forced her opponent to retire from their second round encounter.
It will be interesting to see how the world number four holds up against a player who has shown her range over three successive victories.
Kenin v Sakkari Prediction and Tip
While Kenin is the higher-ranked player with the kind of year she has had last season, Sakkari’s form this tournament gives her a slight edge and we would also have to go with her victory here.
Tip: Sakkari to win: 4/5 (bet365)