In the Round of 16 at the WTA Abu Dhabi 2021, the Greek Maria Sakkari was up against 2-time Grand Slam winner, Garbine Muguruza. It was their first-ever meeting on Tour.
The match promised to be a mouth-watering clash with the 9th seeded (Sakkari) taking on the 5th seed (Muguruza). However, Maria Sakkari was the determined one and led herself to a comfortable victory in the end, winning the match 7-5 6-4. The Greek has not yet dropped a set in her journey at the tournament.
Set-1: Hard Fought Battle by Maria Sakkari
As the first set began, both players held each other’s serve. Up until the 7th game of the first set, the match was poised at 3-3. With Garbine Muguruza serving, the Greek got the much-needed break, to give her the edge in the opening set.
At 5-3, Sakkari began serving to claim the first set. However, the Spaniard had other plans and broke back. She eventually capitalized on her serve and leveled the match at 5-5 in the first set.
With the momentum on Muguruza’s corner, the former Grand Slam winner failed to take advantage, felt the pressure serving 5-6 down in the crucial moment, and eventually let go of the first set. Maria Sakkari took the first set 7-5 after 58 mins.
Set-2: Maria Sakkari Holds Nerve
As soon as the second set began, both players held their opening service games. At 1-1, Muguruza stepped up her intensity and took the early break, making it 2-1 to her advantage. Following which, the Greek did the needful and broke right back to level the match at 2-2.
With both players fighting it out on the court, Sakkari broke the Spaniard again in the 7th game, similar to the first set, and took advantage at 4-3. A composed Maria held her serve to get herself closer to the finishing line. Finally, at 5-4, Sakkari climbed past the last hurdle to win the set eventually 6-4.