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Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open 2021: Maria Sakkari vs Coco Gauff preview, head-to-head & prediction

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari
ANALYST
Modified 07 Jan 2021, 20:40 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Maria Sakkari vs Coco Gauff

Date: 8 January 2021

Tournament: Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open 2021

Round: Round of 32 (Second round)

Venue: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Category: WTA 500

Surface: Hardcourt

Prize money: $565,530

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

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Maria Sakkari vs Coco Gauff preview

It’s been just a couple of days since the start of the new WTA season, but things are already heating up at the Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open. A mouthwatering second-round match awaits us as teenage sensation Cori 'Coco' Gauff locks horns with Maria Sakkari on Friday.

Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari both registered emphatic victories in their opening-round fixtures. But the American was particularly impressive in her 6-0, 6-1 dismantling of seasoned ITF player Ulrikke Eikeri.

Sakkari on her part overcame the challenge of rising star Anastasia Potapova, with a solid 6-4, 6-2 win.

The Greek's serve was absolutely on the money in her first-round match. Sakkari is blessed with a generous amount of raw power, and she now seems to have worked on finding the required accuracy levels in her delivery.

The 25-year-old hit the spot consistently against Potapova, firing seven aces and winning 90% of her first serve points.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff
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Coco Gauff meanwhile yielded a mere 17 points on her serve against Eikeri, romping home in 69 minutes. There wasn’t much the Norwegian could do as Gauff played some flawless tennis, chasing down everything that Eikeri sent her way.

The courts in Abu Dhabi are playing quick this year, as mentioned by some of the players - including Maria Sakkari herself. In theory this should benefit Sakkari’s game more, but Gauff has the ability to make things tricky for the Greek with her brilliant defense.


Maria Sakkari vs Coco Gauff head-to-head

Maria Sakkari leads Coco Gauff 1-0 in their head-to-head record.

The two faced each other in the opening round of the 2020 Western & Southern Open. The Greek won in straight sets with a scoreline of 6-1, 6-3.


Maria Sakkari vs Coco Gauff prediction

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari

On her day, Maria Sakkari is one of the most powerful shot-makers on the WTA tour who can go toe-to-toe even with the likes of Serena Williams. Coco Gauff might struggle to return Sakkari’s venomous groundstrokes given the sheer pace on them.

The 16-year-old is well-equipped defensively, but Sakkari has the firepower to hit through her consistently.

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To counter that threat, Gauff will need to be proactive in her return games. The American is generally a solid returner, and she will need to bring her A-game in that department to test Sakkari’s blistering serve.

Drawing out unforced errors from the Greek might provide an opening or two for Gauff. All things considered though, Sakkari seems to be the favorite to win this match.

Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in straight sets

Published 07 Jan 2021, 20:06 IST
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