Grammatikopoulou Falls in Heartbreaker
Valentini Grammatikopoulou’s Australian Open campaign ended in the second qualifying round, as she fell to third-seeded Lin Zhu of China, despite leading 5-2 in the third set.
After the match was postponed for over 24 hours due to rain, it was eventually moved to one of the indoor tennis courts of Melbourne Park. This change of venue seemed to have both advantages and disadvantages for Grammatikopoulou. On one hand, the two biggest wins of her career have come on indoor courts, so it is arguably her best surface. On the other hand, the move indoors resulted in limited access for fans, therefore the local Greeks who had supported her in the previous round were not in attendance.
The Greek underdog quickly raced out to a 5-1 lead over the world number 115. After squandering two opportunities to serve the set out, Grammatikopoulou eventually was able to take the set 6-4 after converting her third set point on Zhu’s serve. Zhu would respond by jumping to a 3-0 lead in the second set, which she eventually took 6-2 to force a decisive third set.
In the third set, both girls continued to win their service games until Grammatikopoulou broke Zhu to take a 4-2 lead. After holding serve in the subsequent game, the Greek went up 5-2 and seemed to be headed for the final qualifying round. The Greek would come within two points of victory on four separate occasions in the final set, but it was Zhu who would rally from behind. After taking the last five games of the match, the Chinese player won 4-6 6-2 7-5 to book her place in the final qualifying round. This would be Zhu’s first win over a Greek player in her career, as she had previously been 0-2 after losing to Eleni Daniilidou and Maria Sakkari in the past.
Grammatikopoulou may have had her chances, but was only able to convert five of 15 break points throughout the match. On the other hand, Zhu was able to convert five of six break points in the second and third sets, which ultimately made the difference in the match. Zhu would go on to defeat Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru in straight sets to qualify for the main draw.