WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips Maria Sakkari and Tatjana Maria square off in the third round.
19:00 (AEST), Fri 1st Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 2: Sakkari 1 V Maria 1
Last meeting: Australian Open, 2022 (R128): Sakkari d Maria 6-4 7-6
Final Thoughts: Fifth seed Maria Sakkari boasts semi-final appearances at the Australian and US Opens – both in 2021 – but his chasing her first Round of 16 berth at Wimbledon when she takes on world No.103 Tatjana Maria.
Sakkari produced some decent grass-court form to make the Nottingham Open quarters and the German Open semis. The Greek 26-year-old has cruised into the third round at Wimbledon with straightforward wins over Aussie qualifier Zoe Hives (6-1 6-4) and Viktoriya Tomova (6-4 6-3). Sakkari’s service game against Tomova was particularly strong.
The 34-year-old Maria debuted at Wimbledon way back in 2007 and has never been past the third round of a major. But after first-round exits in her last eight grand slam visits, the German has impressed in London this week.
Maria came from a set down to subdue rising Aussie Astra Sharma in the first round, before upsetting 26th seed Sorana Cirstea 6-3 1-6 7-5.
The pair have met twice, with Sakkari taking out their only clash at WTA level – a hard-fought straight-sets win in the opening round of this year’s Australian Open. Maria’s victory was in a 125k tournament back in 2014.
Maria’s status as a grass-court specialist makes her a prickly opponent for Sakkari, whose Wimbledon history is scratchy. But Sakkari’s baseline game will prove a tough nut to crack and she should capitalise on what shapes as a favourable draw through to the semi-finals.