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The Grandstand at the Miami Open is all set to host the Round of 16 match between two in-form WTA stars, Maria Sakkari and Anna Kalinskaya. The 28-year-old Greek player reached the semifinal in Miami in 2021. The 25-year-old Russian is coming into this match on the back of a win over former Miami Open finalist Jelena Ostapenko. On their quest for their title, will the tides favor the Indian Wells or the Dubai Championships finalist? Let’s take a closer look.

Maria Sakkari vs. Anna Kalinskaya: Preview

Maria Sakkari didn’t have a great start to her 2024 campaign. She reached the second round of the Australian Open, following which she couldn’t get past the Round of 16 in Abu Dhabi. In the Qatar Open, she faced defeat in her very first match but got to the Round of 16 in Dubai. After these disappointing early exits, the Greek No.1 made a stellar comeback in the Indian Wells Masters, making it to the finals.

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Although it was a convincing 6-4, 6-0 win for World No.1 Iga Swiatek, it undoubtedly gave Sakkari confidence coming into the second leg of the Sunshine Double. And it’s been evident. In her first match, the World No.9 got past Yue Yuan, 6-2, 6-2. She continued that strong form against Dayana Yastremska, overcoming the Ukrainian in a close 7-5, 6-4 encounter. With a 10-5 win-loss record in 2024, can she continue her run against Anna Kalinskaya?

Well, looking at the form Anna Kalinskaya is in at the moment, it won’t be that easy for the Greek. Kalinskaya started her season in Brisbane, where she reached the second round. She followed that with a run to the Round of 16 in Adelaide. But the Australian Open was her breakout tournament, where she reached the quarterfinals. The Russian lost her first match in Qatar but made it to the finals at the Dubai Tennis Championships, losing to Jasmine Paolini.

 

Indian Wells wasn’t too great for her, but in the Sunshine State, she’s been shining so far. After defeating Wang Xiyu 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, what followed was an emphatic 6-3, 6-1 victory against Ostapenko. That’s bound to give her confidence coming into the match against Sakkari. The 25-year-old has a 16-6 record this season. Considering all this, it’s set to be an exciting encounter. But how have they stacked up against each other in the past?

Sakkari vs. Kalinskaya: Head-to-Head

Sakkari and Kalinskaya have only met once in their careers so far. That match happened at the 2021 Kremlin Cup in Moscow in the Round of 16. The match ended 6-2,1-0 in Sakkari’s favor as Kalinskaya was forced to retire due to an illness. With that win, Sakkari became the first Greek woman to qualify for the WTA Finals. With everything set for their second meeting, Kalinskaya will look to avenge that defeat. But will she be able to?

Prediction: Kalinskaya to win in three sets

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Looking at the stats, over the last year, Maria Sakkari has won 61.4% of matches played (35-22), while Anna Kalinskaya has won 71.15% (37-15) of her matches. In the last six months, Sakkari has won 47.29% of second-serve points, while Kalinskaya has won 50.17%. The Greek’s best win% has been on clay (63%). But the Russian’s best record has been on hard courts (67%).

That said, Sakkari has won seven of her last eight fixtures, but Kalinskaya has managed six in the same period. While the Greek has had more wins recently, the surface favors Kalinskaya’s game more. The courts in Indian Wells are a little slower than the ones in Miami. Sakkari managed to make it to the finals, but Swiatek comfortably beat her. Comparing that match to Kalinskaya’s encounter with the Pole in Dubai (on fast-paced courts), the Russian won in straight sets.

There’s no doubt that Maria Sakkari will give Anna Kalinskaya a run for her money. But because of the favorable surface conditions for Kalinskaya, the 25-year-old could come out on top. That said, fasten your seat belts to witness this intriguing contest. Who’s your pick for this match?

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UPDATE: Maria Sakkari has advanced to the quarterfinals in Miami for the second time after Anna Kalinskaya was forced to retire due to a right thigh injury.

READ MORE: ‘Just Couldn’t Breathe’- Maria Sakkari’s Agonizing Experience Right After Achieving It Big In Tennis