Greeks set for French Open
Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas found out who their first round opponents in Paris will be, while Valentini Grammatikopoulou prevailed in a thriller to reach the final round of qualifying, where she will aim to join Sakkari and Tsitsipas in the main draws.
Maria Sakkari will be seeded at a Grand Slam for just the second time in her career, as the 23-year-old comes into Roland Garros as the number 29 seed. Sakkari, who reached the third round last year, was handed a decent draw for the first round. She will face Anna Tatishvili of the United States. Tatishvili, a former top 50 player, has not played an official match at any level since 2017, and is coming back from injury. Not only is it expected that she will be rusty, but even at her best, she had never made it past the first round in Paris in four attempts. Sakkari and Tatishvili have never played each other before, so this would be their first meeting.
The winner of that match would face either an undetermined qualifier, or the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova, in the second round. The winner from this section would likely have a tricky third round match, as potential opponents include world number one Naomi Osaka of Japan, former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, and 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
On the men’s side, world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas will look to make another deep run at a major after reaching the Australian Open semifinals back in January. The 20-year-old will face Germany’s Maximilian Marterer (world number 110) in the opening round. The two have never played before, but the German did reach the fourth round in Paris last year. In the second round, the winner would face either India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran or Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien. Tsitsipas could potentially face world number three Roger Federer of Switzerland later on, in the quarterfinals.
This tournament is also a huge chance for Tsitsipas to rise in the rankings, as some of his main rivals are defending a lot of points at the French Open. World number four Dominic Thiem of Austria is defending 1,200 points in Paris, and world number five Alexander Zverev of Germany is defending 360 points. On the other hand, Tsitsipas is only defending 45 points, as he lost to Thiem last year in the second round.
Valentini Grammatikopoulou is looking to become the third Greek player to play in the main draw in Paris this year, which would mark the first time ever that Greece had three singles players in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the same time. The world number 193 won her first qualifying round over Australia’s Kimberly Birrell (world number 158), 6-2 3-6 6-4.
In the second round of qualifying, she upset fifth-seeded Heather Watson of Great Britain (world number 105) 7-5 6-7(6) 7-6(3). Grammatikopoulou was down 0-3 and 3-5 in the third set, and even saved two match points against Watson. She will now play in the final round of qualifying at a Grand Slam for the first time in her career, and will face American Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko, seeded 19th and currently ranked 130, was once ranked as high as 19 in the world. Grammatikopoulou and Lepchenko have never played each other before.