J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2020: Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari preview, head-to-head & prediction

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka
Modified 24 Oct 2020

Match details

Fixture: Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari

Date: 24 October 2020

Tournament: J & T Banka Ostrava Open 2020

Round: Semifinals

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

Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari preview

Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has been in splendid form on hardcourts this season. The Belarusian won the Cincinnati Masters title, and also finished as the runner-up at the US Open.

Azarenka had an average clay swing though, by her usually high standards. She made it to the Italian Open quarterfinals, but her Roland Garros campaign was ended by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the second round itself.

Now back on quick hardcourts, Azarenka seems to have regained her pre-clay momentum. Although Barbora Krejcikova surprised her in the second round at Ostrava by winning the first set 6-2, the Belarusian bounced back quickly to secure the match in three.

In the quarterfinals, the two-time Australian Open champion tamed seventh seed Elise Mertens for the loss of just five games. She now faces Greece's Maria Sakkari on Saturday for a place in the final.

Not many would have expected Sakkari to reach the Ostrava semifinals, mainly because Elina Svitolina and Ons Jabeur were present in her half. However, the unseeded Greek ousted both Svitolina and Jabeur to set up a clash with Azarenka in the final four.

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari

Sakkari had kicked off her campaign with a straight-sets win over Kristyna Pliskova. She followed that up with a 6-3, 6-3 win against top seed Svitolina, and then a three-set triumph over Jabeur.

Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head

Victoria Azarenka has never faced Maria Sakkari on the WTA Tour before. Thus, their head-to-head record currently stands at 0-0.

Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari prediction

Victoria Azarenka should progress to the summit clash
Victoria Azarenka should progress to the summit clash

Victoria Azarenka seemed in excellent touch during the American swing, but she had to work hard for her victory against Krejcikova in her Ostrava opener. The Belarusian had to stave off 14 break points against her unseeded opponent, showing how vulnerable her serve was in that match.

However, Azarenka quickly put those woes behind her as dominated Mertens in the last eight clash. She had a solid 73% win rate on the first serve, and she broke her opponent's serve four times.

But Maria Sakkari has also played very well this week, dropping just one set in her three matches so far. Given the form that both players are in, the semifinal on Saturday is likely to be a close encounter.

All things considered though, Azarenka might just have a little too much consistency and experience for Sakkari.

Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to win in three sets.

Published 24 Oct 2020
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