Both Greeks advance at Australian Open

Both Greeks advance at Australian Open

Maria Sakkari upset 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, while Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Italy’s Matteo Berrettini to become the first man representing Greece to ever reach the second round at the Australian Open.

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14th-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas took on Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, the world number 54. Neither player had ever won a main draw match at the Australian Open before. In fact, Tsitsipas was trying to become the first Greek man to ever get past the first round in Melbourne.

With neither player being able to break serve, the first set went to a tiebreak. It was the Italian who took it 7-3. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas was able to get a crucial break in the second set to win it 6-4. In the third set, Tsitsipas broke Berrettini twice and won it 6-3. The fourth set would also go to a tiebreak, this time with Tsitsipas winning it 7-4 to win 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 7-6(4) to advance to the second round. He held all of his service games and only faced two break points throughout the match.

With this win, Tsitsipas has now become the first male player from Greece to ever win a main draw match at the Australian Open. He also now has wins in the main draw at all four Grand Slam tournaments. In Wednesday’s second round, Tsitsipas will face either Serbia’s Viktor Troicki or Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

World number 43 Maria Sakkari was looking to make the second round in Melbourne for the third time in her career, as she faced 22nd-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the 2017 French Open champion. Neither player had been in top form going into the match, as both had lost more than they had won in recent months.

Sakkari dominated from the get-go, going up 4-0 early on in the first set, which she eventually took 6-1. Ostapenko struck back in the second set, breaking Sakkari twice to take it 6-3 and force a decisive third set. Ostapenko went up 1-0 in the third, but then the Greek won six of the last seven games to take it 6-2. With 11 aces, Sakkari was great on serve. On the other hand, Ostapenko hit nine double faults, with five of them coming in the third set.

Sakkari has now leveled her head-to-head against the Latvian at 1-1, and will face Australian qualifier Astra Sharma (world number 232) in the second round. The two have never played each other before. Sakkari is also competing in doubles here with France’s Pauline Parmentier. They will face the Chinese duo of Xinyu Jiang and Qiang Wang in the first round.

 

by Andrew Stamas

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