Fixture: (7) Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari
Date: 21 April 2021
Tournament: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Stuttgart, Germany
Category: WTA 500
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx. 8.30 pm local time, 12 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari preview
Petra Kvitova opened her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title defense with a resounding win over America's Jennifer Brady on Tuesday.
The Czech overcame a shaky start before closing out a straight-sets win in an hour and 32 minutes of play. Awaiting Kvitova in the Round of 16 is Greece's Maria Sakkari, who defeated Andrea Petkovic in straight sets in her opener.
Sakkari is in the midst of a purple patch, having reached the semifinals of the Miami Open. The Greek showed incredible fighting skills in her wins over the likes of Naomi Osaka and Jessica Pegula.
She has also managed to make a successful transition to clay from hardcourts, as evident from her solid win over a seasoned campaigner like Petkovic. Sakkari will now be looking to carry the momentum into the match against the defending champion.
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari head-to-head
Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari have split their four prior meetings, so their current head-to-head stands at a 2-2 deadlock. But Sakkari did take the duo's only meeting on clay, courtesy of a retirement from her opponent.
Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari prediction
Petra Kvitova enters this contest as a firm favorite on paper, but the defending champion will be expecting a tough fight from her opponent.
Kvitova ended her first-round match with a total of 27 winners, and will step out looking to take control of this match as well. That said, she has had her fair share of trouble finding a way past Maria Sakkari's tenacious game in their previous showdowns.
The Greek enjoys playing on the red dirt — a surface where she can make the best of her solid baseline game. She has powerful groundstrokes off both wings, but her real strength lies in her incredible fitness level.
Sakkari will definitely look to turn this into a physical affair, trying to force her opponent into over-pressing on her shots. That strategy has worked well against Kvitova in the past, and Sakkari will hope for a repeat.
That said, the Czech has made a few defensive additions to her game in recent months. If she can manage to control her aggression, she should be able to eke out another close win here.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to win in two tight sets.