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Bertens vs Sakkari WTA Charleston live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens and Sakkari clash for the sixth time in third round

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 4 Apr 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Maria Sakkari is live from Charleston around 12.30pm local time on Thursday (5.30pm GMT)
  • Bertens leads their head-to-head 3-2
Kiki Bertens (PA Images)

Kiki Bertens continues her Volvo Car Open title defence in Charleston on Thursday when she takes on World No. 50 Maria Sakkari for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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World No. 6 Kiki Bertens targets her eighth straight win in Charleston as her Volvo Car Open title defence continues in the third round on Thursday against Maria Sakkari.

Bertens secured the Charleston title in dramatic circumstances last year, playing two matches on the same day due to wet weather, saving a match point against Madison Keys in the semi-finals (prevailing in a deciding set tiebreak), before pummelling Julia Goerges by a 6-2 6-1 scoreline in the final. The Dutchwoman, who is back on her preferred clay having established herself as a genuine all-courter with a number of stand-out results on grass and hardcourt over the last 12 months, was never in any trouble in the opening match of her title defence on Wednesday, easing past Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan 6-2 6-1 in just 59 minutes.

"It's always tough for the first match on clay," Bertens said after the win. "In the beginning, I was searching for the rhythm and not putting too much on the ball.
"From there, I started playing a little bit more aggressive, and in the end, I was happy with my game."

It will be fascinating to see how Bertens performs on clay over the next few months. She’s propelled herself to No. 6 in the world on the back of some fantastic showings on grass and hardcourt over the last eight months or so, making the Wimbledon quarter-finals, winning the biggest title of her career at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, capturing another hardcourt title in Seoul and reaching the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore. Bertens also won the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy silverware in February to continue her excellent hardcourt run.

However, Bertens is at her best on clay, which makes her a fearsome proposition for her rivals over the next few months. A French Open semi-finalist back in 2016 and a runner-up at the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open last year - along with winning five WTA clay-court titles - Bertens will be looking forward to re-establishing herself as one of the leading players in the world on the dirt. But, first things first, can she successfully defend her title on the green clay of Charleston this week?


Maria Sakkari is the woman trying to stop her in the third round. Sakkari had a great start to the season, impressing at the Hopman Cup alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas and putting together a nice mini-run at the Australian Open, reaching the third round before going down to home hope and recently-crowned Miami Open champion Ash Barty. However, Sakkari - who is now coached by the respected Mark Petchey - couldn’t build on her January form and subsequently lost in the opening round of her next three tournaments in St. Petersburg, Acapulco and Indian Wells, before finally returning to the winners circle in Miami, beating Olga Danilovic in the first round but bowing out in the next round 1-6 4-6 to Petra Kvitova.

The Greek hit her career-high ranking of No. 29 in September of last year after some eye-catching results, reaching her first WTA final at the Premier-level Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, making the semi-finals of Istanbul and Seoul, advancing to the R16 in Indian Wells and the third round of big events at the French Open, Rome and Miami. Having slipped to No. 50 following some disappointing results since January, Sakkari has won back-to-back matches for the first time since Melbourne in Charleston this week, overcoming lucky loser Conny Perrin in three sets in the opening round before crushing former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-0 to earn a shot at the defending champion.

Sakkari is equipped with supreme movement and an all-round athletic game that relies a lot on that said movement and defence, but she doesn’t really have that one big weapon or the ability to win free points on serve, which can hold her back against the best players in the world. Bertens is certainly one of those, and after sinking her teeth back into clay in her opener, she should be dialled in and ready to go for this one. Bertens leads the head-to-head 3-2 and won their last encounter on hardcourt in Seoul last year - you’d think that back on clay, she should be too strong and too powerful for Sakkari and move back into the quarter-finals.


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Bertens vs Sakkari WTA Charleston live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens and Sakkari clash for the sixth time in third round

Kiki Bertens continues her Volvo Car Open title defence in Charleston on Thursday when she takes on World No. 50 Maria Sakkari for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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