After registering impressive victories in their previous matches, 4th seed Aryna Sabalenka took on the woman in form Maria Sakkari in the semifinal of the WTA Abu Dhabi Open 2021. It was their 4th meeting and the Belarusian has dominated their tie 3-1 in her favor. However, the streak got extended as she registered a convincing 6-3 6-2 victory to move into the final.
Set-1: Aryna Sabalenka Wrecks Maria Sakkari to Take the Opening Set
As the match began, Sabalenka got the early break in the second game of the opening set. 9 minutes into the match and the Belarusian was 3-0 up.
18 minutes into the match and Aryna Sabalenka was 5-1 up against the Greek Maria Sakkari. However, Sakkari Brokeback and held her serve to make it 5-3, much in vain. In the following game, Aryna held her serve to take the opening set 6-3 in 29 minutes.
The key difference of the set was that Sakkari managed to only win just 1 out of the 9 points on her second serve. Overall, Sabalenka won 31 points and Sakkari won 15 points out of the 46 played in the set.
Maria Sakkari opened the second set holding her serve. Both players held serve, until the 5th game of the set, where the Belarusian fought hard to ensure the break and led the set 3-2, on serve.
It was 50 mins on the clock and the match looked poised in world no. 10’s favor. In the 7th game of the set, Sakkari was broke nyet again, clearing the path for her opponent to serve it out for the match.
Sabalenka sealed the match, serving it out 6-2 in the second set. Sakkari’s form dipped with her managing to win only a little over 50% of her first-serve points.