By Ros Satar

  • Katie Boulter looks to consolidate a career high in Tianjin
  • Tough start with a first meeting with Maria Sakkari
TIANJIN, CHINA – Katie Boulter has a tough start in Tianjin as she looks to crack the Top 100, facing the fast-rising Maria Sakkari.


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Katie Boulter v Maria Sakkari | First meeting

British No. 3 Katie Boulter could crack the Top 100 with a decent run here, but it is a tough start for her against Maria Sakkari, who has had a breakthrough year. The Greek broke into the Top 30 last month, but has since slipped a little down the rankings.

Boulter has had a mix of events this year, with a three ITF titles this year but her best performance on the tour was in Nottingham, reaching the quarter-final. Sakkari, on the ither hand has been on the up since Indian Wells. After starting the year with a run of opening losses, she reached the fourth round in Indian Wells, the semi-finals of Istanbul and the highlight of her year so far was the San Jose final.

Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, WTA San Jose 2018

Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, WTA San Jose 2018 | Anita Stahl

The rest of the US Open swing did not really pan out for her, and she picked up her first back to back wins after that in Seoul with another semi-final in the bag, but her time in China has been frustrating with first round exits in Wuhan and Beijing.

Sakkari has a solid serve and forehand combination, and just on her tournaments alone, she has a lot more consistency at a tour level than Boulter. While she may have started out more confidently on the clay courts after moving to Barcelona for training, she has improved on hard courts and has a solid serve which will look to do some damage against the Brit.

Boulter can match Sakkari on serving power and both probably have a tendency to go more for their forehands. If that forehand crumbles, Boulter can struggle.

Prediction: Sakkari in three sets.


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