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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsMaria Sakkari Powers Through to the French Open Last 16

Maria Sakkari Powers Through to the French Open Last 16

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari moves to the second week of Roland Garros. Credit: Roland Garros

Greek tennis champion Maria Sakkari put on a powerful display to edge over Elise Mertens of Belgium in 2-1 sets in a thrilling game at the French Open tournament on Saturday.

Sakkari, the World No. 18, won 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 on the third round of Roland Garros and will play 2020 runner up Sofia Kenin, the highest ranked player left, in the next round.

The Greek tennis star overcame the disappointment of losing the second set on a tie-break 2-7 and fought back in the third, where she broke Mertens’ serve twice.

Maria Sakkaris’ win means that she is 4-4 in the head-to-head with Elise Mertens. A handful of their meetings took place on the ITF circuit when the two were coming up the ranks.

On the WTA Tour and at Grand Slam level, they have met just thrice, with Sakkari winning two of those matches, including at the Australian Open qualifying in 2016.

Their most recent showdown at Zhuhai in 2019, however, went the way of the Belgian.

Although Sakkari, 25, dazzled on hardcourts at the start of the season, including a run to the Miami Open semifinals, she has struggled to replicate those efforts on clay. In three tournaments, the Greek managed to win a grand total of four matches.

However at Roland Garros she seems to have found her form at the right time.

“Roland-Garros is one of my favorite tournaments, so I’m really glad, and I hope I can do much better these weeks,” Sakkari said on Thursday.

“I feel like I haven’t reached my level yet, my good level, but I think I’m playing good solid clay-court tennis. I think I served really well today, very clever, and very good choices on my serve.”

Sakkari’s Unique Accomplishments for Greek Tennis

On 17 May 2021, she reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 18. Her best WTA doubles ranking is 169, achieved on 9 September 2019.

Sakkari has won one singles title on the WTA Tour, at 2019 Morocco Open, where she defeated Johanna Konta in the final.

Last September, Sakkari cruised over No.22 seed Amanda Anisimova after only 55 minutes to book a place in the fourth round of the US Open.

The No.15 seed won in rapid fashion by 6-3, 6-1 and became the first Greek woman to reach the second week in Flushing Meadows since Eleni Daniilidou in 2004.

In 2020, Sakkari reached the round of 16 at both the Australian Open and US Open, so far her best Grand Slam performances.

The Greek tennis champion is known for her aggressive, all-court style of play, centered around her strong serve and powerful groundstrokes. Sakkari served the sixth most aces of any player in 2020, with 144 aces served in 31 matches.

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