Fixture: Ons Jabeur vs Maria Sakkari
Date: 23 October 2020
Tournament: J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2020
Venue: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Category: WTA Premier
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $528,500
Match timing: Not before 2 pm CEST, 5.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Ons Jabeur vs Maria Sakkari preview
In a battle of two unseeded players, Maria Sakkari will take on Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals of the J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2020 on Friday.
World No. 32 Ons Jabeur continues to shine in 2020, and has now reached her fifth quarterfinal of the season. The Tunisian has constantly been creating history for Arab tennis in the best season of her career, and has fully established her place within the top 40.
At the Australian Open, the former junior Roland Garros champion became the first Arab woman to make the last eight of a Major. The 26-year-old has built on that result since, reaching three more quarterfinals - at Doha, Lexington and Cincinnati - besides Ostrava this week.
Jabeur has played some solid tennis at Ostrava so far, to say the least. After starting her campaign with an effortless 6-2, 6-2 win over Barbora Strycova, she beat the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-4 in the second round on Thursday.
Maria Sakkari is another player who has been fortifying her game in recent times, as evident from her solid results this year. After reaching the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, Sakkari produced the goods at the indoor event in St. Petersburg - where she made it to the semis.
After the resumption of the tour, the World No. 23 reached the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open, riding on an upset win over Serena Williams.
At Ostrava, Sakkari has once again been on top of her game. She sent top seed Elina Svitolina packing 6-3, 6-3 in the second round, after beating Czech wildcard Kristyna Pliskova by an identical scoreline in the first.
Ons Jabeur vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head
Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari have faced each other only once before. That match went Jabeur's way, so the Tunisian currently leads their head-to-head record 1-0.
The meeting was at the $75,000 Sobota/Rokietnica ITF Tournament in 2015, when both players were coming up the ranks. Jabeur beat Sakkari 7-5, 6-1 to progress to the quarterfinals of that tournament.
Ons Jabeur vs Maria Sakkari prediction
Maria Sakkari will be heading into this showdown with a lot of confidence after her big win over Elina Svitolina. The Greek fired six aces past the Ukrainian and put up a thoroughly aggressive show throughout.
Sakkari's return game was particularly impressive. She attacked the Svitolina second serve relentlessly, which helped her earn as many as five breaks.
The 25-year-old would be looking to bring that attacking tennis into the match against Jabeur, whose serve does get wobbly at times. Even against the inconsistent Ostapenko, the Tunisian dropped serve as many as five times.
But Jabeur made up for that with her fabulous footwork and delicate touch. The World No. 32 is adept at absorbing the pace of hard hitters, and she would be banking on those same tactics to try and interrupt Sakkari's rhythm.
Jabeur has been the more consistent player of the two this year, and she also has a win over Sakkari in the past. Even if the match gets tight, Jabeur's experience and court smarts will likely help her pull through.
Prediction: Ons Jabeur to win in three sets.Published 22 Oct 2020, 20:06 IST