WTA Abu Dhabi Open 2021 Semi Finals Preview: Sabalenka vs Sakkari and Kostyuk vs Kudermetova
The semifinals of the first women's tennis tournament of the 2021 season are here as fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka takes on ninth-seeded, Maria Sakkari, and Marta Kostyuk locks horns against Veronika Kudermetova in the Abu Dhabi Open.
Let us have a comprehensive overview of both the matches
Sabalenka vs Sakkari
Sabalenka won her first 3 matches each in straight sets defeating Polona Hercog, Ajla Tomlijanovic, and Ons Jabeur. In a scintillating showdown against 6th seed, Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals, the Belarusian came out on top clinching the encounter in 3 sets. Sabalenka committed 5 double faults and won 71% of her first-serve points.
Sakkari too won her first 3 clashes in straight sets emerging victorious against Anastasia Potapova, Cori Gauff, and 5th seed, Garbine Muguruza.
Trailing by a set against the reigning Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin in the quarters, the Greek took 10 games in a row in the second and third set, winning 2-6 6-2 6-0. Her first serve was strong as she smashed 9 aces and 23 winners in the match.
Sabalenka leads the head to head record 3-1 against Sakkari. This is their fifth-ever clash on hardcourts. The Belarusian has reached her third consecutive semifinal and is on a 13-match winning streak.
Sakkari has a better serve and footwork while Sabalenka has powerful groundstrokes. The Greek will target her second-ever WTA title in her career.
Prediction - Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets
Kostyuk vs Kudermetova
Kostyuk began her run beating Lucie Hradecka in straight sets. She was stretched by Hsieh Su-Wei in the round of 32 but came through in three sets. The Ukrainian thrashed Tamara Zidansek in the pre-quarterfinals.
Despite getting bagelled in the first set against Sara Sorribes Tormo, she bounced back to win 0-6 6-1 6-4 to enter the semifinals.
Kudermetova defeated the 10th seed Anett Kontaveit and Bianca Turati each in straight sets. She won against Spaniard, Paula Badosa in 3 sets in the round of 16. In what was the biggest-ever victory of her career, the Russian stunned the second-seeded, Elina Svitolina in 3 sets in the quarterfinals after losing the first set.
Kudermetova has a powerful first-serve and a reliable forehand that can do the damage. She is playing her first semifinal since the Hobart Open 2020. Kostyuk has excellent court coverage and the teenager is playing her maiden WTA semifinal.
This is the first time they are playing each other and this match could go down to the wire. Both are powerful strikers of the ball and the quicker courts will aid them in having engaging rallies.
Prediction - Veronika Kudermetova to win in three sets
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