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Madrid Open 2021: Maria Sakkari vs Amanda Anisimova preview, head-to-head & prediction

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 29 Apr 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (16) Maria Sakkari vs Amanda Anisimova

Date: 30 April 2021

Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Round: First round (Round of 64)

Venue: Madrid, Spain

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Clay

Prize money: €2,549,105

Match timing: 11 am local time, 2.30 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video

Maria Sakkari vs Amanda Anisimova preview

16th seed Maria Sakkari will open her 2021 Madrid Open campaign with a blockbuster first-round match against former French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova.

Sakkari has been going great guns so far in 2021. She has made the semifinals in three of her seven events this year, with the biggest one coming at the Miami Open.

The World No. 19 gave a thorough demonstration of her power tennis in the Floridian City. She ended Naomi Osaka's unbeaten streak with a commanding performance, before falling to Bianca Andreescu in a close three-setter.

But Sakkari hasn't had a great start to her clay season, falling to Petra Kvitova in the second round at Stuttgart last week.

The Greek will look to make amends this week, and put together a deep run in Madrid. But she will have to get into the groove right from the start, for she faces a very dangerous opponent in the first round.

Amanda Anisimova
Amanda Anisimova

Amanda Anisimova has had a few misfortunes at the start of the season. She tested positive for COVID-19 in February, which forced her to miss the Australian Open. The 19-year-old then unfortunately fell and hurt her ankle, resulting in more tournament withdrawals.

Having played just four events this year, Anisimova is woefully short of match practice. That said, her fighting three-set losses to Bianca Andreescu at Miami and Shelby Rogers at Charleston showed what she is capable of.

It likely won't be long before the American is able to end up on the winning side of these marathon matches.

Maria Sakkari vs Amanda Anisimova head-to-head

Maria Sakkari leads Amanda Anisimova 1-0 in their head-to-head. The Greek crushed the American teenager 6-3, 6-1 in their third-round meeting at the US Open last year.

Maria Sakkari vs Amanda Anisimova prediction

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari

This is an exciting matchup between two of the hardest hitters of the ball. Both Maria Sakkari and Amanda Anisimova rely on their powerful groundstrokes and all-round aggressive play to blast their opponents off the court.

However, Sakkari has been the more consistent of the two over the past few months. The World No. 19 has been playing with a certain confidence and composure that have helped her rack up a bunch of big wins of late.

The heavily-built Sakkari has the advantage in the serve department too. She regularly elicits short returns off her big first serve, which gives her control of a large number of rallies.

Sakkari has also improved her movement and defense in recent times, so Anisimova cannot afford to play it safe with her groundstrokes. The American has to hit with consistent depth and constantly vary the direction and spin of her shots, in order to prevent Sakkari from getting into a baseline groove.

However, doing that repeatedly against an in-form player might be easier said than done.

Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in two tight sets.

Published 28 Apr 2021
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