Fixture: Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari
Date: 4 March 2021
Tournament: Qatar Total Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx 7.30 pm local time, 10 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari preview
World No. 16 Garbine Muguruza takes on Greece's Maria Sakkari in the quarterfinal of the Qatar Total Open in Doha on Thursday.
Muguruza came into Doha as a serious title contender, having reached the final Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne. The Spaniard also came within inches of defeating Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open fourth round, before losing the tight encounter in three sets.
In Doha, Muguruza followed up her solid showing in the first round (against Veronika Kudermetova) by defeating the in-form Aryna Sabalenka in the second. The 27-year-old squandered the opportunity to serve for the match in the second set, and recovered from being a break down in the third before winning four games in a row to reach the quarterfinals.
Muguruza now comes up against yet another in-form player in Maria Sakkari, who would be high on confidence after having picked up a string of high-profile wins over the past few months.
The Greek reached back-to-back semifinals in Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, before losing early at the Australian Open. But the 25-year-old has looked in good nick this week, spending just a little over two hours on court while defeating Mayar Sherif and Madison Keys in straight sets.
Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head
Their quarterfinal encounter in Doha is the second professional meeting between the two players on tour. Maria Sakkari leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Garbine Muguruza, having defeated the Spaniard in Abu Dhabi last month.
Garbine Muguruza vs Maria Sakkari prediction
Both players came into the tournament with some solid results under their belt. And while Garbine Muguruza may be the higher-ranked player, Maria Sakkari's form makes her a tough opponent to face.
Sakkari has been at her offensive best in Doha so far. She will likely adopt a similar strategy to her match against Muguruza in Abu Dhabi, where she took on the role of the aggressor and blasted 33 winners and 11 aces.
During her match against Sabalenka, however, Muguruza proved that she is more than comfortable redirecting pace and holding her own from the baseline against power players. Her first serve percentage in that encounter was as high as 75%.
Like her opponent, Muguruza too relies on a strong serve and powerful groundstrokes to assert her dominance on the court. But having played a mentally and physically draining encounter just 24 hours prior, Muguruza's fitness and concentration levels might be a matter of concern.
If the two players show the kind of form they have displayed over the past few months, their quarterfinal could end up being a classic. But all things considered, Muguruza's superior experience under pressure and Sakkari's occasional inconsistency give the Spaniard an edge.
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to win in three sets.