Ashleigh Barty vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open, R3 Preview
🇦🇺 (15) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

Ash Barty is likely to face her first real test of the tournament when she takes on Maria Sakkari at the third round stage of the Australian Open on Friday. Barty has cruised through her first few matches over inferior opponents that never really posed her much threat, that will not be the case against Sakkari, the Greek number 1 seemingly has weapons that can trouble Barty.

Maria Sakkari of Greece in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Barty has made a very strong start to the Aussie summer, Barty arrived in Melbourne fresh off a great week in Sydney where she narrowly lost the final to Petra Kvitova. Barty has quickly found her range in Melbourne as she claimed straight set wins over Luksika Kumkhum and Yafan Wang with little fuss. Barty’s Versatility and power is a unique combination, a combination which many are tipping to take her deep into the tournament.

Maria Sakkari has also made a good start to the season and has made a good start to her Australian Open campaign. Sakkari started the week with a 6-1 3-6 6-2 win over the 22nd seeded Jelena Ostapenko before battling past Astra Sharma 6-1 6-4. Sakkari will be looking to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time with a win over Barty having previously reached the third round at every Grand Slam.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It was Sakkari who won the most recent match between the two, a 6-4 6-2 win at Indian Wells last year.

Can Sakkari spoil the occasion for the Australian number 1?

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (22) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

One of the toughest opening round match-ups at Melbourne Park on Monday sees the 22nd seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Maria Sakkari, the Greek rising star. Ostapenko arrives at Melbourne Park in a slump, the Latvian has lost her first two matches of the season and will need a dramatic improvement if she is to get through this tough opening round match-up.

Maria Sakkari of Greece practices ahead of the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko is a shadow of the player that stormed to the Roland Garros title in 2017. Ostapenko started her 2019 campaign with an embarrassing opening round loss to Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen where she won just 2 games. More recently Ostapenko played n Sydney where she produced a more respectable level but was still beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets.

Maria Sakkari has made a more impressive start to her 2019 campaign. Sakkari started the season at the Hopman Cup where she went 2 from 3 in her singles matches, Sakkari defeated Katie Boulter and Belinda Bencic in straight sets whilst succumbing to Serena Williams in a competitive straight set loss. Sakkari did however suffer an opening round loss to Magda Linette in Hobart last week, perhaps it was for the best.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Charleston in 2017, Ostapenko won that match 6-2 4-6 6-2. Much has changed since then, Sakkari will fancy her chances this time around.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Daria Kasatkina vs. Maria Sakkari, Roland Garros R3 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇷🇺 (14) Daria Kasatkina vs. 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

A Fascinating third round clash on Friday in Paris sees the 14th seeded Daria Kasatkina take on Maria Sakkari. This will be as close as it gets to playing against a clone for these two, Kasatkina and Sakkari have very similar playing styles, similar strengths and similar weaknesses. Both have moved into the third round without dropping a set and both are aiming to reach the second week in Paris for the first time, who will prevail?

Daria Kasatkina of Russia in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

The expectations are high for Kasatkina heading into this year’s tournament. Kasatkina has had some great results in 2018, most notably a run to the final at Indian Wells and more recently a quarter-final appearance in Madrid. Kasatkina has the perfect game to thrive on clay and she is now into the third round in Paris for the third straight year courtesy of straight set wins over Kaia Kanepi and Kristen Flipkens. If Kasatkina wins this she is likely to face Wozniacki next, an opponent she has beaten on the last few occasions, so there is a big opportunity for Kasatkina to reach new heights.

Maria Sakkari is into the third round in Paris for the first time, Sakkari has now reached the third round at every Grand Slam on 1 occasion. Sakkari arrived in Paris with confidence after claiming two huge wins over Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova in Rome. Sakkari has produced two typically gutsy performances to start her Roland Garros campaign, a 7-6 6-2 win over Mandy Minella followed by a noteworthy 7-5 6-3 win over the 23rd seeded Carla Suarez Navarro.

Interestingly the pair have met at the tour level on just 1 previous occasion. It was Kasatkina who won that match, a 6-1 7-5 win on clay in Bucharest back in 2015, both have improved significantly since then.

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Naomi Osaka vs Maria Sakkari, Indian Wells R4 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, 🇺🇸🌴 Indian Wells R4 Preview
🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs 🇬🇷 Maria Sakkari

Naomi Osaka and Maria Sakkari will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the fourth round stage of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday. Osaka and Sakkari are two young players on the rise, both will see this as a huge opportunity to reach the quarter-final stage of a premier mandatory event for the first time. Osaka and Sakkari have both beaten big names on route to the final 16, expect a quality encounter.

Maria Sakkari of Greece in action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka started the event with a big upset as she defeated 2-time former champion Maria Sharapova in the opening round, a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory. Osaka backed up her big win over Sharapova impressively well, claiming a dominant 6-3 6-2 win over former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska. Osaka confirmed her spot in the fourth round when she defeated America’s Sachia Vickery 6-3 6-3. Osaka has shown great consistency this week, something we have rarely seen from the talented 20-year-old, certainly something she has shown more of in 2018.

Maria Sakkari has also moved into the fourth round in Indian Wells without dropping a set. Sakkari started the week with a 6-4 6-2 win over Donna Vekic before causing two big upsets in a row. A 6-4 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty and a 6-2 6-4 win over CoCo Vandeweghe. Sakkari’s win over Vandeweghe was particularly impressive, Sakkari was very consistent and diligent as she successfully exposed the weak backhand side of Vandeweghe to claim a fairly comfortable victory.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out, a match-up we should see a lot more of in the future as these two continue to rise up the rankings.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here