?? Western & Southern Open – QF Preview + Prediction:
?? (8) Johanna Konta vs. ?? (13) Maria Sakkari
The fourth and final quarter-final of the day at the Western & Southern Open sees the 8th seeded Johanna Konta take on the 13th seeded Maria Sakkari In New York.
Johanna Konta received a bye through round one before storming through her first couple of matches at Flushing Meadows. Konta started the event with a 6-2 6-0 win over Kristen Flipkens before defeating Vera Zvonareva 6-4 6-2. An important couple of wins for Konta given she lost to Maria Bouzkova in straight sets in her return event in Lexington a few weeks ago.
Maria Sakkari also claimed a pair of straight set wins in her first few matches of the event. Sakkari defeated Cori Gauff 6-1 6-3 before defeating Yulia Putintseva 6-4 7-6. Sakkari’s biggest win came in the third round as she defeated Serena Williams 5-7 7-6 6-1 in what was a strange match. Sakkari was down and out on a few occasions in the second set but managed to stick around and snatch the second set. Sakkari didn’t need to do much in the third set as Williams imploded on the other side of the net.
Konta holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Sakkari. The most recent meeting between the pair took place on grass in Eastbourne last year, Konta won that match 6-4 7-6. Sakkari’s only previous victory over the Brit was on clay in the Rabat final last year, a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victory.
This is a tough match to call, probably the most evenly matched quarter-final of the day. I’m going to give the slight edge to Sakkari. It’s hard to read much into Konta’s victories this week, she was never really tested, Sakkari will test the Brit. Sakkari has come through some tough situations on a few occasions this week and that could give her the edge in what should be a close match. Sakkari showed against Williams that she can live with power from the other side of the net and then attack when she has the chance, a similar approach will be needed to get the win here.