Sakkari and Stefanos stopped in semi-finals
Superstars Rafael Nadal of Spain and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic proved too strong for the Greeks in the semifinals of the Italian Open, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari respectively.
Nadal, the eight-time champion in Rome, was seeking revenge after Tsitsipas stunned him last week in Madrid. The Spaniard got an early break in the first set and was able to save both of the break points that he faced, to take the set 6-3. In the second set, Nadal also got an early break and that was enough for him, as he took it 6-4 to advance to the final and improve his record against Tsitsipas to 4-1. Nadal, the world number two, will now face world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final.
Maria Sakkari was looking to upset Karolina Pliskova in the Rome for the second consecutive year, as she had defeated the Czech in the second round last year in a match filled with drama and controversy. The Greek got off to a good start, going up 4-2 in the first set. However, the match was temporarily stopped due to rain. When play resumed, Pliskova won four consecutive games to come from behind and win the set 6-4. There were no breaks of serve in the second set until Sakkari was broken to love while serving to stay in the match, giving Pliskova a 6-4 6-4 win. The world number seven will now take on Great Britain’s Johanna Konta in the final.
Despite the losses, both Greeks will move up when the new rankings are released on Monday. Tsitsipas is still set to go up from his current ranking of seven in the world to a new career-high of number six in the world. Sakkari will rise from her current ranking of 39 up to 29, equalling her career-high from last September. This also means that she will be one of the 32 seeds at the upcoming French Open, which will mark her second time ever being seeded at a Grand Slam tournament.