Fixture: (3) Maria Sakkari vs Anhelina Kalinina.
Date: 21 June 2022.
Tournament: Rothesay International Eastbourne 2022.
Round: Second round (Round of 32).
Venue: Eastbourne, United Kingdom.
Category: WTA 500.
Match timing: Approx. 4.30 pm local time, 5.30 pm CET, 11.30 am ET, 9 pm IST
Prize money: $757,900.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | Canada - TSN | UK - Amazon Prime Video.
Maria Sakkari vs Anhelina Kalinina preview
Third seed Maria Sakkari will begin her quest for the Eastbourne title against World No. 36 Anhelina Kalinina on Tuesday, June 21.
After an underwhelming campaign at Roland Garros that saw her suffer a second-round exit, Sakkari has bounced back strongly on grass. The Greek made the quarterfinals in Nottingham and went one better in Berlin to reach the semifinals.
There, the World No. 5 was involved in a grueling battle with Belinda Bencic for more than three hours before going down 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4.
Sakkari will hope to continue her encouraging run on grass as she now begins her challenge at the Rothesay International.
25-year-old Kalinina, meanwhile, has been making her presence felt on the tour this year. Her best performances of the season have so far been quarterfinal finishes in Charleston and Madrid.
The Ukrainian, however, has struggled to find her feet on grass. She managed to win a grand total of just one match in two tournaments prior to arriving in Eastbourne.
At the Rothesay International on Monday, Kalinina made a strong start against Birmingham semifinalist Sorana Cirstea, who retired with the Ukrainian leading 6-0, 2-1.
Maria Sakkari vs Anhelina Kalinina head-to-head
Sakkari and Kalinina have never met on the tour before, so their head-to-head is currently tied at 0-0.
Maria Sakkari vs Anhelina Kalinina odds
(All odds are sourced from Oddschecker)
Maria Sakkari vs Anhelina Kalinina prediction
Sakkari and Kalinina will be heading into this clash in contrasting grasscourt form. While the Greek made her maiden semifinal on the surface last week, Kalinina is yet to win consecutive matches on grass this year.
Sakkari hasn't had great results on grass in the past, with her best showing at Wimbledon being a couple of trips to the third round. But she has gradually been gaining in confidence on the slick surface, as evident from her results this season.
Her face-off with Bencic in Berlin was a classic that saw some fabulous shotmaking from both players. Sakkari's hard-hitting groundstrokes and her frequent forays into the net kept her in contention until her serve let her down towards the end of both the second and third sets.
That is one area the World No. 5 needs to work on if she wants to make it deep at Eastbourne as well as Wimbledon. She produced nine aces against Bencic, but those were offset by eight double faults and a low 52% first serve percentage.
Kalinina is good at attacking her opponents' second serve, so Sakkari definitely needs to put in an improved display on serve. The Ukrainian also has an aggressive playing style with which she would look to extend the rallies against her much-fancied opponent.
However, most of Kalinina's success has so far come on clay and she is relatively inexperienced on grass. Adjusting to the pace of Sakkari's shots on such a fast surface could take some time.
If she has a slow start and gives up an early break of serve, she might find it difficult to get back into the match.
Pick: Maria Sakkari to win in straight sets.