Maria Sakkari came from behind to win a thriller of a game against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu by 2-1 sets in Round 16 of the US Open on Monday evening.
In a thrilling game that lasted 3 1/2 hours, the Greek champion lost the first set on the tie-break (6-7), then won the second also on a tie-break and the third by 6-3.
Sakkari, number 17 in the world rankings, put on a gutsy performance to secure a place in the quarter finals, where she will face two-time Grand Slam runner-up Karolina Pliskova. The fourth-seeded Pliskova advanced by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-4 on Monday.
Also securing a spot in the quarterfinals was Belinda Bencic. The Olympic gold medalist from Switzerland beat Iga Swiatek 7-6 (12), 6-3 to make the last eight in Flushing Meadows for the third time.
MARIA SAKKARI IS INTO THE QUARTERFINALS pic.twitter.com/wK8ITD3pPs
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2021
This was Andreescu’s first loss in the main draw at Flushing Meadows. She beat Serena Williams in the final to win the title in her debut two years ago and missed the hard-court Grand Slam tournament in 2020 while sitting out the entire season with an injured knee.
The match was the latest-finishing women’s match in tournament history. Sakkari’s fans had to wait beyond 2:00 AM Tuesday morning to see her finally break her opponent. The 3 1/2-hour match ended at nearly 2:15 AM. The previous women’s record was a 1:48 a.m. finish for a first-round match in 2016 in which Madison Keys beat Alison Riske; three men’s matches have wrapped up at 2:26 AM.
The Greek tennis player apologized for keeping the fans awake this time of night. “I hope you will not be late for work tomorrow,” Sakkari told those fans who stayed until the end. “Go get some sleep and I’ll see you in two days.”
Maria Sakkari has a message to the fans who stayed beyond 2am to watch her win. 😅
— The Field (@thefield_in) September 7, 2021
Sakkari reached semifinals at French Open
Sakkari has won one singles title on the WTA Tour, at 2019 Morocco Open, where she defeated Johanna Konta in the final. She was also semifinalist of 2017 Wuhan Open, where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki en route, her first top-10 win.
In 2019, she reached another Premier 5 semifinal at the Italian Open where she defeated, among other players, Petra Kvitová. In 2020, Sakkari reached the fourth round at both the Australian Open and US Open, and in 2021 she has reached the semifinals at the French Open.
Sakkari 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 WTA player in 2020, with 144 aces served in 31 matches.