With the 2021 Abu Dhabi Open underway, a mouthwatering clash is already on the cards. Teenager Coco Gauff will lock horns against Maria Sakkari in the second round of the WTA 500 Open. Both players have registered emphatic wins in their opening round matches.
Gauff started the new season with an impressive win by overpowering ITF player Ulrikke Eikeri 6-0, 6-1. The American played rock-solid from the baseline and saved all the eight break points she faced. Having made her professional debut in 2019, Gauff has established herself as a formidable force.
On the other hand, Sakkari registered an easy win over the Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova in the opening round. Seeded No.9, Sakkari served impeccably well by winning an astonishing 90% of points of her first serve and hammered seven aces.
The duo has played only once against each other, with Sakkari leading 1-0. They faced in the opening round of the 2020 Western and Southern Open, which won in straight sets.
The Greek is one of the strongest contenders on the WTA tour. Possessing the firepower to defeat the likes of Serena Williams, Sakkari will have an upper hand over her second-round opponent. Sakkari’s powerful groundstrokes and big service poses an enormous threat to Gauff’s campaign.
To ward off the threat, Gauff will have to play aggressively from the baseline and return well to create chances of breaking Sakkari’s service. The 16-year-old cannot afford to hand numerous break points opportunities to her next opponent, unlike her opening round match.
The quick court at Abu Dhabi will benefit Sakkari’s natural game style. The 25-year-old will enter the showdown as the favorite and will most likely proceed to the third round.
Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in straight sets