Sakkari and Stefanos into semi-finals
Maria Sakkari came from behind to defeat France’s Kristina Mladenovic, while Stefanos Tsitsipas also advanced at the Italian Open after Roger Federer withdrew due to injury.
Sakkari let a 3-0 first set lead slip away, as Mladenovic came back to take the set 7-5. Mladenovic then went up an early break in the second set, but the Greek fought back to take it 6-3. In the third set, it was all Sakkari, as the world number 39 took it 6-0 to advance to the semifinals. With the win, she is guaranteed to move back into the top 32, securing a seeding for the upcoming French Open.
Next up for Sakkari will be world number seven Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. The only previous meeting between the two took place at this event last year in the second round. Sakkari prevailed 3-6 6-3 7-5, in a match filled with drama and controversy. The other semifinal will be between Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Konta of Great Britain.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was set to face world number three Roger Federer of Switzerland in a highly anticipated encounter. However, this match did not occur after Federer announced his withdrawal. “I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today. I am not 100% physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play,” said Federer.
Tsitsipas will now face world number two and eight-time Italian Open champion Rafael Nadal of Spain in the semifinals. Nadal leads the head-to-head 3-1, but Tsitsipas won their most recent meeting last week in Madrid. World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia will take on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the other semifinal match.
The Greek youngster, currently at a career-high ranking of seven in the world, is now set to move up to a new career-high of number six. Should he beat Nadal, he would even move up to number five when the next ATP rankings are released on Monday.