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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsMaria Sakkari Fights Back to Progress to Australian Open Third Round

Maria Sakkari Fights Back to Progress to Australian Open Third Round

Maria Sakkari Australian Open
Maria Sakkari celebrates her second-round win at the Australian Open. Video screenshot/Eurosport

Greek sixth seed Maria Sakkari avoided a shock as she fought back to beat Russian teenager Diana Shnaider in the Australian Open second round.

Shnaider, 18, is still to join the professional ranks as she plays in the American college system, but threatened an upset by winning the first set.

But Sakkari regrouped to win 3-6 7-5 6-3, taking her third match point.

World number 106 Shnaider made a habit of roaring in Sakkari’s direction and throwing her icy stares, and it got too much for the Greek sixth seed at 5-5 in the second set at Margaret Court Arena.

After a wry grin, Sakkari grew serious and walked toward the chair umpire holding up a finger, saying: “If she screams one more time in my face … No, no, no, no.

“One more time … She’s coming towards me. One more time and I’m going to speak to the referee.”

Taking charge of the situation appeared to work for Sakkari, who duly broke the 18-year-old Russian to take the set, then locked down the match to reach the third round.

“She is very young and very promising, maybe she should consider not going to college and turning pro,” joked Sakkari, who is a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist.

“It is difficult when you have not played someone before and I was hesitant. She was swinging hard and playing aggressively. I tried to find solutions and that’s what I think I’m good at.

“It was a very high level from both of us.”

Sakkari will now play against China’s Zhu Lin in the third round of the Australian Open.

Maria Sakkari reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2020

The Greek champion has been ranked as high as world No. 3 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which she first achieved on 21 March 2022, making her the highest-ranked Greek player in history alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In 2020, Sakkari reached the fourth round at both the Australian Open and US Open. In 2021, she has reached the semifinals at the French Open and the 2021 US Open making her the first woman from Greece to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

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