Grammatikopoulou Advances in Melbourne

Grammatikopoulou Advances in Melbourne

20-year-old Greek tennis player Valentini Grammatikopoulou defeated Australia’s Ellen Perez in three sets to advance to the second qualifying round of the Australian Open.

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Grammatikopoulou is competing at the Australian Open for the second time in her young career, as she had also reached the second round of qualifying last year. Her first round opponent, Ellen Perez of Australia, had beaten world number 11 Kristina Mladenovic just four days prior to her encounter with the Greek.

One break of serve separated Grammatikopoulou and Perez in the first set, as the Greek took it 6-3. In the second set, the Aussie raced out to a 3-0 lead before the Greek rallied back to level it at 3-3. However, the Aussie would end up edging Grammatikopoulou 6-4 to take the set and send the match into a decisive third set.

In the third set, Grammatikopoulou immediately broke Perez’s serve in the first game of the set and never looked back. She continued to hold serve and quickly found herself up 3-1. She had five break points to go up 4-1, but Perez hit some big serves which kept her alive in the match to make it 3-2. Despite the missed opportunities to extend her lead, Grammatikopoulou held serve, then broke serve, and then held again. She would take the set by a score of 6-2, much to the delight of the dozens of Greek fans who attended the match in Melbourne Park.

Next up for the world number 191 is third-seeded Lin Zhu of China, ranked 115 in the world. Zhu defeated American Louisa Chirico in three sets in the first round. Some Greek fans may remember Zhu, as Sakkari beat her in the third qualifying round back in 2016. The winner of this match will take on either Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska or Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru for a spot in the main draw.

If she manages to win her next two matches, Grammatikopoulou would make her Grand Slam main draw debut, and she would join her Greek compatriot and friend Maria Sakkari in the tournament. On the men’s side, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will also be competing in the main draw.

The match will take place on Friday January 12 on Show Court 3, the fourth match after 10:00 AM local time, so it likely won’t start before 2:00 PM. Entry is free for the qualifying rounds.

By Andrew Stamas
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