Sensational Sakkari into Quarterfinals
After her big win against Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday, Maria Sakkari followed it up by beating 16th seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-6 7-5, to reach the quarterfinals of the Wuhan Open.
It must be noted that Sakkari was down a break in both sets, and she even trailed 1-4 and 3-5 in the second set but managed to come back each time. This is only her third time ever in the quarterfinals of a WTA tournament, and her first time in a Premier 5 event.
Next up for Sakkari is the Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, ranked 42 in the world. Cornet defeated American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko in three sets, in a match where play was suspended due to rain three times. The winner will take on an unseeded player in the semifinals, either France’s Caroline Garcia or Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova. In fact, of the 16 seeded players in Wuhan, only three have advanced to the quarterfinals.
Sakkari and Cornet have played each other once before, earlier this year at the Australian Open in the second round. Sakkari won the match 7-5 4-6 6-1, which came as a surprise to many. However, Cornet now knows what to expect from her young Greek opponent. “I have a revenge to take. She beat me at the Australian Open. It was a very physical match. She’s a machine. Physically, she’s so strong. I’m strong too, so it’s going to be I think a hell of a fight for sure,” said Cornet.
Regardless of what happens, Sakkari has already made Greek tennis fans very proud this week. After coming from qualifying and winning five matches in a row, she has shown that she is capable of achieving big things in her career. Even with a loss against Cornet, she will gain 220 ranking points for this tournament (her previous best was 130 in a single tournament), and move into the top 60 (she is currently ranked a career-best of 80 in the world). With a win against Cornet, Sakkari could find herself in the top 50 when the next rankings are released on Monday, joining her mother and Eleni Daniilidou as the only Greeks to do so.