Italian Open 2021: Coco Gauff vs Maria Sakkari, Preview, Head-to-Head and Prediction

Published 05/11/2021, 6:08 AM EDT
Coco Gauff of the U.S. in action during her first round match against Britain’s Johanna Konta REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Both Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari opened their Rome campaign with similar wins, reaching the finish line after overcoming mid-match struggles, and will now cross paths and battle for a place in the fourth round of the Italian Open.

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The American teen tennis sensation, who turned 17 this year, recovered from a loss in the second set to put it past Kazakh star Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in her tournament opener on Monday.

Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari survived tricky opponents in opening matches

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Gauff did well not to fall away after suffering a mid-match slump and fought back well to pip her opponent in the end.

It was a close match where she had to come out of a tight corner, but the fact that she finished on the winning side will have given her a world of belief going into the next match. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 06: Maria Sakkari of Greece plays a backhand in her Quarter Fnal match against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day four of the WTA 500 Grampians Trophy at Melbourne Park on February 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Ditto for Sakkari since the big-hitting Greek star, who finds herself more at home on concrete than clay, showed enough steel and grit to see off a tricky opponent in Slovenian Polona Hercog in her opening match on Monday.

After taking a fiercely contested opening set via tiebreak, Sakkari saw the Slovenian make a stunning fightback by winning the second. However, the 25-year-old backed her strengths and stayed in the game to eventually turned the contest in her favor at 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-2.

With both quite similar in their naturally aggressive and feisty styles of play, one can safely say that an explosive contest is on the cards when the two cross swords in Rome on Wednesday.

Maria Sakkari holds a 2-0 head-to-head lead over Gauff

On the career head-to-head front, it’s the 25-year-old Sakkari who is clearly ahead with a 2-0 lead.

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DIVE DEEPER

Coco Gauff Fights Back From a Set Down to Defeat Yulia Putintseva at Italian Open 2021

about 1 month ago

However, Gauff will have painful memories of her defeats to the Greek World No. 19, the latest of which came at Abu Dhabi earlier this year and will be bursting with a desire for revenge in Rome.

Their similar playing styles apart, what will make this an even contest is the fact that they have never played on clay before.

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So expect a nail-biting, nerve-jangling contest when Sakkari and Gauff renew their rivalry in Rome on Wednesday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1003 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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