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Cincinnati 2020: Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari preview, head-to-head & prediction | Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams will face Maria Sakkari in the Round of 16 in New York
Serena Williams will face Maria Sakkari in the Round of 16 in New York
Mihir Gawade
ANALYST
Modified 25 Aug 2020, 15:53 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari

Date: 25 August 2020

Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020

Round: Round of 16

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: WTA Premier 5

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $1,950,079

Match timing: Not before 7 pm EDT, 4:30 am IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN

Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari preview

Serena Williams' struggles on her return to the tour after the COVID-19 break continued in her first match at the Western & Southern Open in New York. The American eked out a narrow win over her Dutch opponent Arantxa Rus on Monday, winning 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.

Williams had a difficult week in Lexington too, having to come back from a set's deficit in both her wins before losing to Shelby Rogers. And it seems like her shaky form is here to stay if her opening match in New York is anything to go by.

The third seed was solid on her serve in the first set, clinching it in a close tiebreak, before losing momentum and blowing an early lead to drop the second. Serena then looked set to cruise to victory in the deciding set before getting broken back while serving for the match and getting broken again in the next game - giving her opponent the opportunity to serve for the match.

However, the 23-time Slam champion showed her famed determination as she broke back and then bageled Rus in the tiebreak to book a Round of 16 meeting against Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Maria Sakkari beat Yulia Putintseva in the second round
Maria Sakkari beat Yulia Putintseva in the second round

The 13th-seeded Sakkari overcame a spirited fight from Yulia Putintseva in the second set to win 6-4, 7-6 and set up an exciting clash with Serena in the Round of 16. The second set tiebreak was exceptionally close, with Sakkari edging her Kazakh opponent 11-9 to win the match in straight sets.

Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head

Serena Williams has faced Maria Sakkari only once before
Serena Williams has faced Maria Sakkari only once before

Serena Williams and Maria Sakkari have never met on the WTA tour, but they did face off at the Hopman Cup in 2018. The 23-time Slam champion won that match 7-6, 6-2, but the Greek would be expected to give Williams much more trouble this time around.

Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari prediction

Looking at Serena's form since the tour resumed, her Round of 16 clash against the World No. 21 is likely to be a tough battle. The American great will have to dig deep to pull out another victory and book her place in the quarter-finals, where either Vera Zvonareva or Johanna Konta will be waiting.

Maria Sakkari looks in decent form, and has had a strong year overall so far. The 25-year-old had her career-best Slam result at this year's Australian Open, where she lost to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.

Maria Sakkari would look to reverse the Hopman Cup 2018 result
Maria Sakkari would look to reverse the Hopman Cup 2018 result

The Greek does possess the game to upset possibly the greatest tennis player of all time. And given Serena's form, there may not be an outright favorite in this match.

Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in three sets.

Published 25 Aug 2020, 15:53 IST
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