TennisSection previews the 2023 Linz Open as Maria Sakkari takes on Donna Vekic in the quarterfinal on Friday, February 10, 2023.
Will Maria Sakkari go all the way at the Linz Open? Or will the top seed fall at the hands of in-form Donna Vekic? This is fascinatingly poised and you feel whoever wins this match will be the outright favorite to win the title at the weekend.
Maria Sakkari needed a positive reaction after her surprise Australian Open exit at the hands of Zhu Lin in the third round. And she got one here at the Linz Open, where she won her two matches in straight sets to reach the quarterfinal. The Greek, however, has not enjoyed her matchups against Donna Vekic, and this might be the best version of the Croat that she will face on Friday. Can Sakkari flip the switch in their rivalry?
Donna Vekic, meanwhile, arrived at Linz Open at possibly the best moment in her career. Vekic who is not far off from catching up to her career-best ranking of No. 19, is into her second quarterfinal of the year, following on from her exploits in Melbourne where she also reached the last eight. The Croat, like Sakkari, has not been troubled in her run to Friday’s quarterfinal, beating Tamara Korpatsch and Madison Brengle without dropping a set.
Donna Vekic leads Maria Sakkari 5-2 in their head-to-head across all levels. It looks like the bookies cannot separate these two in the moneyline market. Sakkari is the higher-ranked player by some margin but did not have a great Australian Open campaign. Vekic, by contrast, has put her injury troubles behind her and enjoyed a fruitful Australian summer. Sakkari hardly enjoys this matchup simply because Vekic is a fearless attacker, always looking to finish off points with the fewest shots. That head-to-head is of huge significance here no matter how you try to diverge from it. Sakkari needs a shift of mindset and tweak her game plan to give Vekic some thinking to do. But unless Vekic’s forehand completely malfunctions, we see the Croatian star toppling the top seed.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Donna Vekic in 3 sets
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