In the midst of a fantastic 2021 campaign, Maria Sakkari will hope to maintain her momentum against the extremely talented Amanda Anisimova in Madrid’s first round on Friday. It was all Sakkari the last time they played at the 2020 US Open third round, with the Greek cruising to a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
While all signs point to a comprehensive Sakkari victory, the oddsmakers aren’t so sure, and list Sakkari as just a -205 favorite and project her to win by 3.5 total games. After a turbulent few years, Anisimova has been showing flashes of her 2019 form, taking both Shelby Rogers and Bianca Andreescu the distance in her last two tournaments.
Against Rogers in Charleston, Anisimova found herself up 6-1, 4-1, before injuring her ankle and losing the match. It was a tough break for the 19-year-old, who was obliterating Rogers before the unfortunate injury.
Sakkari owns supreme defensive skills that Anisimova will certainly test with her brilliant first-strike tennis. The Greek is arguably the most powerful athlete on tour right now.
But Anisimova’s height, and ability to take the ball early will serve her well against Sakkari. She prefers to be the aggressor, but does a phenomenal job of mixing in drop shots when least expected.
But more than anything, Anisimova uses her incredible timing to hit both hard and flat winners at extreme angles.
The American has more than enough tools to pull the upset, but the best way to gain confidence in tennis is to win, and her health has not allowed that recently. Look for Sakkari to power her way to the second round in this blockbuster matchup.
The Pick: Maria Sakkari