With the 2021 Abu Dhabi Open underway, another scintillating showdown is on the cards. Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza will lock horns with Maria Sakkari in the third round of the WTA 500 tournament. Both players have registered impressive wins in their opening two matches and are yet to lose a set.
Former World No.1 Muguruza defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round comfortably and just lost five games en route to her victory. Seeded No.5, Muguruza created a whooping 15 breakpoint opportunities during her match against Sasnovich.
On the other hand, Sakkari faced a tough fight against the teenager, Coco Gauff, in the second-round battle. Despite being down 0-3 in the opening set, Sakkari clawed a way back into the match and hammered 18 winners to win in straight sets.
The duo will play against each other for the first time in their careers. Surprisingly, the duo hasn’t met even once, despite competing on the tour for so many years. However, the upcoming match will mark the first chapter of their rivalry.
Over the last two matches, Muguruza’s service has been a big concern for her. In her second-round match, Muguruza a less than 40% of the points of her second serve, and a strong returner like Sakkari would make matters worse for the Spaniard.
The Greek possesses a powerful game from the baseline, but will have to defend well against Muguruza’s shot-making quality. Sakkari’s biggest weapon will be her big serve, which poses an enormous threat to her next round opponent.
With both players appearing a bit rusty, it’s going to be a high-octane match with some empathic rallies. However, Sakkari will have a slight upper hand considering the quick conditions.
Prediction: Maria Sakkari to win in three sets