Fixture: Madison Keys vs Maria Sakkari
Date: 3 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 5.30 pm local time, 8 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Madison Keys vs Maria Sakkari preview
World No. 19 Madison Keys takes on Maria Sakkari in the second round of the Qatar Total Open on Wednesday.
Keys was woefully out of match practice coming into the tournament. She had played just five professional matches in the last 12 months, the last of which had come at Roland Garros in October.
However, the former US Open finalist managed to get the better of sixth seed Belinda Bencic on Tuesday, winning 6-4, 6-1 in just over an hour.
Maria Sakkari on the other hand has played a lot of tennis since the start of the year, and comes into this encounter looking sharp. The World No. 25 put together back-to-back semfinal runs at Abu Dhabi and the Australian Open tune-up event, beating the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Sofia Kenin and Angelique Kerber along the way.
Sakkari did crash out of the Australian Open in the very first round, at the hands of Kristina Mladenovic. But the Greek comes into the second round at Doha having seemingly regained her form, defeating Mayar Sherif 6-0, 6-3 in less than an hour.
Madison Keys vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head
The second round encounter in Doha is the second meeting between the two players. Maria Sakkari currently leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Madison Keys, having beaten the American 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Madison Keys vs Maria Sakkari prediction
Maria Sakkari would have been the overwhelming favorite for this encounter if it was played at the start of the tournament. But after Madison Keys' dominant victory over Bencic, the result is far from a foregone conclusion.
Keys' hard-hitting style reaped rich dividends in the first round, as her first serve and powerful groundstrokes helped her dispatch Bencic without much trouble. That being said, the American will now come up against an opponent who has been enjoying the best phase of her career.
Barring the blip at the Australian Open, Sakkari has been in fine form over the last few months, picking up many high-profile wins. The 25-year-old is comfortable taking on the role of the aggressor as well as at redirecting pace from the back of the court, and on Wednesday she would look to use her foot speed and make Keys hit a few extra shots.
Sakkari has been trying to translate her recent good work into a title for a long time now, while Keys is looking to make something out of her comeback. All things considered, the Greek seems to have both form and fitness on her side coming into what could be a close encounter.
Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in three sets.