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Abu Dhabi 2021: Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari preview, head-to-head & prediction

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza
ANALYST
Modified 10 Jan 2021, 00:46 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari

Date: 10 January 2021

Tournament: Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open 2021

Round: Third round (Round of 16)

Venue: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Category: WTA 500

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $565,530

Match timing: Approx. 2 pm local time, .30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari preview

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza breezed past Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open. The Spaniard won in straight sets, with a 6-1, 6-4 scoreline. 

The World No. 15 will now take on 22nd-ranked Maria Sakkari in the third round on Sunday, in what promises to be a cracker of a contest.

Despite her seemingly convincing win, Muguruza will be far from happy with her performance. The Spaniard was erratic with her serve, getting broken thrice during the match. The former Wimbledon champion was particularly inconsistent on her second serve, winning less than 30% of those points.

There will be some concerns in Muguruza’s camp after her two performances so far in Abu Dhabi. The 2020 Australian Open runner-up is yet to drop a set, but has struggled to bring forth her A-game in this competition.

Maria Sakkari meanwhile defeated teenage sensation Coco Gauff in her second-round match. The Greek won 7-5, 6-2 but the match was closer than the scoreline suggests, with nine breaks of serve.

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Maria Sakkari in action against Coco Gauff
Maria Sakkari in action against Coco Gauff

Sakkari trailed Gauff 0-3 in the opening set before rallying spectacularly to serve for the set at 5-3. The momentum didn’t last long though, as Gauff broke back immediately and held serve to draw level at five games.

Sakkari then broke once again to take the opening set 7-5. In the second set it was mostly one-way traffic, as the 25-year-old stepped on the gas to brush aside the teenager.

Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head

Despite being on tour for a while, Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sakkari have never faced each other. Their head-to-head thus currently stands at 0-0.

Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari prediction

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza

Plenty of fireworks can be expected from Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sakkari in this match. Muguruza hits the ball really big, but it is Sakkari who is arguably the better mover.

That said, both players can be highly inconsistent in their constant bid to paint the lines. It is thus safe to say that the unforced error count will be high in this match.

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The courts are quick this time around, and that will be a double-edged sword for Sakkari. Her potent serve will gain a little extra oomph, but defending against Muguruza’s powerful shot-making will be a tough ask.

Not much separates the two currently, but Sakkari might be a slight favorite given that she has been able to deal with the conditions better than her illustrious opponent so far.

Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in three sets.

Published 09 Jan 2021, 21:44 IST
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