Fixture: (4) Sofia Kenin vs (17) Maria Sakkari
Date: 7 June 2021
Tournament: Roland Garros 2021
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red Clay
Prize money: €17,171,108
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Sofia Kenin vs Maria Sakkari preview
Sofia Kenin came into Roland Garros on the back of some torrid form. The American had a win-loss record of 7-8 in 2021 prior to the tournament, without a single win on clay.
That is what makes Kenin's run to the second week of the French Open so surprising. The 22-year-old has navigated a difficult early draw in Paris expertly, using her big-stage experience to good effect.
Kenin defeated 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round before downing qualifier Hailey Baptiste in the second. The 2020 French Open finalist then took on the in-form Jessica Pegula, where she overturned a one-set deficit to prevail 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
She will now go up against Greece's Maria Sakkari in the fourth round on Monday.
Sakkari has been one of the form players on the WTA tour over the last few months. The Greek has registered semifinal finishes in Abu Dhabi, Melbourne and Miami this year, as well as a few strong scalps on clay.
In Paris, Sakkari got through her first two rounds comfortably, downing Katarina Zavatska and Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. But she faced a marathon battle in the third round against 14th seed Elise Mertens, ultimately winning 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-2.
Sofia Kenin vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head
The fourth-round encounter at Roland Garros will be the fourth match between the pair; Sofia Kenin currently leads the head-to-head 2-1 over Maria Sakkari.
All of the pair's previous matches have gone to three sets. Sakkari won their most recent meeting, in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. But Kenin has won both of their matches at Grand Slam level - at Wimbledon 2018 and US Open 2018.
Sofia Kenin vs Maria Sakkari prediction
Sofia Kenin is the favorite on paper going into this encounter, even if her 2021 results haven't been great. The American has the experience of playing in Grand Slam finals, and she has also proven that her game works well on clay.
Kenin's outstanding foot speed is complemented by her quick-strike style of play and variety. While she may not be the most powerful player on tour, her timing helps her be aggressive and make life difficult for most players.
Maria Sakkari, on her part, is one of the most powerful players on the WTA tour. The Greek can blast winners with her clean and accurate groundstrokes on slower surfaces too, and she comes into this encounter with form on her side.
Sakkari struck 23 winners in her comeback win over Kenin in Abu Dhabi, compared to just eight by the American. That said, the Greek's style of play also makes her quite error-prone.
Kenin has shown in the past that she is effective at redirecting pace from the baseline, and she rarely retreats in the face of big hitting. Sakkari will look to pile on the pressure early and force errors out of her opponent, but if the American is at her physical and mental best she will likely eke out a win.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to win in three sets.
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