Maria Sakkari and Leylah Fernandez go head to head in a tasty second-round clash at the Citi Open on Friday….
Maria Sakkari and Leylah Fernandez go head to head in a tasty second-round clash at the Citi Open on Friday.
The players ranked ninth and 21st on the WTA respectively lock horns for the right to face home favourite Madison Keys in the last eight in Washington.
Sakkari is aiming to avoid losing her opening match for the third time in her past five events, having also fallen at the first hurdle at the French Open and Wimbledon.
The Greek has reached five semi-finals this season – notably at Indian Wells and Madrid – and will be eyeing a similarly strong run as she builds towards the US Open.
Sakkari reached the last four at Flushing Meadows two years ago before succumbing to eventual champion Emma Raducanu.
The Briton completed her fairy-tale in New York by defeating fellow teenage sensation Fernandez in the final.
But the Canadian has struggled to kick on – reaching just four WTA quarter-finals since, while slipping to 88th in the rankings.
Those rare deep runs saw her successfully defend her crown in Monterrey last year, and reach the last eight of the French Open.
But Fernandez has enjoyed better fortunes in doubles this season. Alongside Taylor Townsend, she was a women’s doubles finalist at Roland Garros and Miami, while she also partnered Bethanie Mattek-Sands to the championship match in Auckland at the start of the year.
After beating Bernarda Para in the opening round, she would match her best singles performance of the season with victory here, having also reached the quarter-finals in Auckland at the start of 2023.
The winner of this match will play home favourite Madison Keys in the Citi Open quarter-finals.
Play gets underway at around 5pm BST on Friday and will be contested over the best of three sets on John Harris Court.
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