By Ros Satar
- Katie Boulter v Maria Sakkari
- H2H: 1-0
- Boulter is the lowest ranked player in the Hopman Cup mix this week but owns a win over Sakkari
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – The season starts in earnest for British No. 3 Katie Boulter as she takes on San José finalist Maria Sakkari in the popular season opener.
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Katie Boulter v Maria Sakkari | H2H: Boulter leads 1-0
It may be still seen as a glorified exhibition but the popular Hopman Cup returns for possibly its last incarnation as a season opener, with an untested young British side flying the flag for Britain’s ninth campaign.
Although wins here might not count in the grand scheme of points, Katie Boulter (and partner Cameron Norrie) have been hard at work in the off-season and Boulter’s steady rise up the rankings this year will see her as a direct entry into the Australian Open.
Also in Boulter’s favour, she managed to get the win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari late in the season in Tianjin in straight sets – no mean feat for the Greek who finished in the World Top 50 for the first time, and impressed in San Jose as she battled her way to the final.
Boulter is an aggressive baseliner, and her big first serve often gives way to her favoured forehand, but she can struggle if it goes missing in action in a match. For the most part though, she impresses with her steady temperament.
On the other side of the net, Sakkari looks to construct her points and is pretty adept at ending things if she gets a favourable short ball. She too relies on a trusty forehand and she seems to have improved on the hard courts as her results showed in the summer US swing.
However, she closed out her year on a five match losing streak, and there will be a lot of expectation on Sakkari’s shoulders to start with a win over a much lower ranked opponent. It will be a tough ask for both to get over their opening nerves, but confidence might just be a little higher with the Brit.
Prediction: Boulter in three sets.
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How to Watch/Follow Hopman Cup
Hopman Cup action is on Eurosport Player and on Eurosport 2.
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Boulter and Sakkari are scheduled at 10am (2am GMT).
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