Number 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece opened her 2021 season with a victory, collecting a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open.
The World Number 22 attained a measure of revenge with her 86-minute victory over 101st-ranked Potapova, as the Russian had won their only previous meeting via a final-set tiebreak in the 2017 Miami Open qualifying rounds.
The 2017 Miami Open was Potapova’s first-ever appearance in a singles draw at a WTA event.
This time around though, Sakkari was the player in control, hitting 18 winners to Potapova’s 12 during the match, and converting three of her eight break points while never dropping her own serve.
19-year-old Potapova, who was playing her first match on tour since reaching the third of her three consecutive WTA singles quarterfinals at Monterrey in March, was undone by 23 unforced errors, including six double faults.