Superb Sakkari Into Third Round
Greece’s Maria Sakkari upset Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets to become the first Greek into the third round of the French Open since 2003.
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The Spaniard, currently ranked 23rd in the world, jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the first set and even held a set point. Nevertheless, Sakkari once again showed why she is known for her fighting spirit, as she came from behind to win it 7-5.
In the second set, the Greek cruised to a 5-1 lead and seemed to be headed for the finish line. Despite being two points away from victory in the next two games, Sakkari was unable to convert her chances and the Spaniard reduced the Greek’s lead to 5-3. However, Sakkari would not hesitate on her second attempt to serve for the match, as she converted on her second match point to earn a 7-5 6-3 win over the former world number six and two-time quarterfinalist. This also marked her first win over Suarez Navarro, having lost their previous two encounters, including one here last year in the first round.
Sakkari has now become the first Greek player (male or female) to reach the third round in Paris since Eleni Daniilidou did so back in 2003. Before that, you would have to go back to 1987 to find a Greek in the third round, when Sakkari’s mother (Angeliki Kanellopoulou) did so for the second time in her career (she had also reached the third round in 1985). With this win, Sakkari has also now reached the third round of all four major tournaments, becoming just the second Greek player to ever do so (with the first being Daniilidou).
Next up for the 22-year-old Greek will be Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, the world number 14. Kasatkina, the junior champion in Paris in 2014, is into the third round here for the third consecutive year. She has had a solid clay court season in 2018, reaching the quarterfinals in both Charleston and Madrid. Sakkari and Kasatkina are quite friendly with each other, and Kasatkina won their only previous meeting, which happened to be in straight sets three years ago on clay in Bucharest. The match is scheduled to take place on Friday in Paris, with the winner to face either world number two Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark or French wildcard Pauline Parmentier, in Sunday’s round of 16. Sakkari is also scheduled to make her Grand Slam doubles debut on Friday, teaming up with Croatia’s Petra Martic.
Hoping to join his compatriot in the third round is 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek is currently in a battle with Austria’s Dominic Thiem, the world number eight. Thiem currently leads 6-2 2-6 6-4, with the fourth set to begin tomorrow, as the match was suspended due to darkness. The winner will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the third round.