Coco Gauff vs Maria Sakkari: 2023 Citi Open - Preview & Prediction

Coco Gauff vs Maria Sakkari: 2023 Citi Open - Preview & Prediction

by Nurein Ahmed

Third seed Coco Gauff will meet fourth seed Maria Sakkari in the final of the 2023 Citi Open in Washington on Sunday, August 6, 2023.

After a breathless week of entertaining tennis in the capital, it all comes down to a one-match shootout for the Citi Open title. Gauff will attempt to become just the third American to triumph in this event and join her doubles partner Jessica Pegula on that front, the last American winner back in 2019.

But standing in Gauff's way is the Greek number one Maria Sakkari who accounted for the biggest scalp of the tournament beating Pegula in Saturday's engrossing semifinal, which all but ended the possibility of an all-American final.

On a week when much of the focus was centered around Gauff's decision to call up celebrated coach Brad Gilbert for advice and lead her practice sessions, it looks to have yielded the required results following a 6-3, 6-3 dissection of defending champion Liudmila Samsonova.

Gauff has not dropped a set all week, but she'll be acutely aware of Sakkari's qualities. The fourth seed has taken out two of USA's premier performers, and a third on Sunday will land her a second WTA title of her career.


Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari have played five times with the Greek player leading the head-to-head 4-1. What is even more striking, Sakkari has won each of their three hard-court meeting including their most recent clash at the 2022 Qatar Open quarterfinal.

Gauff's solitary win in the series came on clay in Rome a couple of years ago, so Sakkari could have a psychological advantage in this matchup.


This should be a riveting battle. Even though the head-to-head is extremely lopsided in Sakkari's favor, it is still tough to predict this match. Sakkari has a psychological edge over Gauff (4-1 in the head-to-head) and has greater control and precision of the forehand. That could come in handy.

Sakkari opened up the court beautifully in her win over Pegula and planted so many winners from the forehand wing. The same cannot be said of Gauff whose problems are well-documented with that shot and opponents are making it a habit of playing balls in that corner.

Still, Sakkari has mental hurdles in WTA final matches, I don't think we can overstate this enough. She has won once in seven attempts - the Rabat 250 in 2019. If you stretch it further across all levels, it's two titles in 10 finals, which can only mean one thing, nerves are getting the better of the Greek in decisive moments.

Whether she can exorcise those demons is a difficult question, and that could play in Gauff's hands.

Prediction: Coco Gauff to win in 3 sets.


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