Attachment: Victoria Azarenka versus Maria Sakkari
date: October 24, 2020
competition: J & T Banka Ostrava Open 2020
Conference location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
category: WTA Premier
surface: Indoor hard court
Prize money: $ 528.500
Game time: Not until 2:00 p.m. CEST, 5:30 p.m. IS
Live broadcast: USA – ESPN / Tennis Channel
Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari preview
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka has been in great shape on hard courts this season. The Belarusian won the Cincinnati Masters title and finished second at the US Open.
Azarenka, however, had an average tone swing by her usually high standards. She made it to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open, but her Roland Garros campaign was ended by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova herself in the second round.
Now back on fast hard courts, Azarenka appears to have regained her pre-clay swing. Although Barbora Krejcikova surprised her in the second round in Ostrava with a 6-2 win in the first set, the Belarusian recovered quickly and secured the game in three games.
In the quarterfinals, two-time Australian Open champion Elise Mertens tamed the seventh seed for the loss of just five games. She will meet the Greek Maria Sakkari on Saturday to secure a place in the final.
Not many would have expected Sakkari to reach the Ostrava semi-finals mainly because Elina Svitolina and Ons Jabeur were in their half. The unseeded Greek, however, ousted both Svitolina and Jabeur to start a clash with Azarenka in the last four games.
Sakkari had started her campaign with a direct win over Kristyna Pliskova. It followed with a 6: 3, 6: 3 win over Svitolina and a triumph over Jabeur with three sets.
Victoria Azarenka head to head against Maria Sakkari
Victoria Azarenka has never seen Maria Sakkari on the WTA tour. Therefore, her head-to-head record is currently 0-0.
Victoria Azarenka vs. Maria Sakkari prediction
Victoria Azarenka seemed in excellent touch during American swing but she had to work hard for her win over Krejcikova in her Ostrava opener. The Belarusian had to fend off 14 breakpoints against her unset opponent to show how vulnerable her serve was in this match.
Azarenka quickly left those issues behind when she dominated Mertens for the last eight clashes. She had a solid 73% win rate on first serve and broke her opponent’s serve four times.
But Maria Sakkari played very well this week and has only lost one set in her three games so far. Given the form both players are in, the semi-finals on Saturday should be a close encounter.
All in all, Azarenka could be a little too consistent and experienced for Sakkari.
Forecast: Victoria Azarenka wins in three sets.
Published October 24, 2020 12:46 AM IST
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