Roland Garros: Maria Sakkari stuns defending champion Iga Swiatek in quarters

The Greek player produced a fabulous performance in the last eight clash, preventing the Polish player from defending her French Open title.

Maria Sakkari celebrates her win against Iga Swiatek; Credit: [email protected]

Maria Sakkari moved into her first-ever major semifinal, beating Roland Garros defending champion Iga Swiatek. It means a first-time Grand Slam champion is guaranteed in Paris this year. Sakkari stormed into the last four with a 6-4, 6-4 upset win over 2020 champion Swiatek on Wednesday. No.17 seed Sakkari extended her career-best performance at a Grand Slam event. “I don’t want to get too excited because I don’t have a day off tomorrow,” Sakkari said in her post-match press conference.

“I still have to play, stay focused. But it’s a big achievement, for sure. I’m enjoying, as I said on court, my tennis and myself. I have people around me telling it was going to come. You know, they were right. Maybe I was the one who was telling them, I was impatient, telling them, ‘When and when and when?’ It actually came this week, so I’m happy about it.”

Sakkari is just two victories away from a historic maiden Grand Slam singles title for a Greek woman. Two days ago, she defeated World No.5 Sofia Kenin to become the first Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist from Greece. “Every player has a way of playing, a way of just executing the game plan. I feel like I have a heavy forehand, a good forehand on the clay. I have to play with it. I served really well today.”

Earlier, Swiatek gained an early 2-0 lead which was erased in the next game by Sakkari. The neck-to-neck battle saw the Greek suddenly broke for 5-4 and she saw out the set with that advantage. With momentum on her side, Sakkari broke Swiatek in the opening game of the second set. That was enough for the Greek player to win the set and the match.

Sakkari will next play World No.33 Barbora Krejcikova on Thursday after the Czech defeated American Coco Gauff in straight sets. So far, Krejcikova has won both of her previous meetings with Sakkari, including in Dubai this year. “Just to say the truth, I did not play well in Dubai,” Sakkari said. “It was one of [Krejcikova’s] best weeks. Credit to her. She played very, very good that week. But different conditions, fast court, fast balls. I made a lot of unforced errors.

“I think, of course, it’s going to be very tough, but I’m confident that my coaches will give me the right game plan. So far I have been executing whatever they said really well. I trust myself and I trust their game plan. I think it’s going to work out well.”

Sportslumo Desk

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