Stefanos Tsitsipas Praises Compatriot Sakkari For Sharing Her Olympic Funds - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Praises Compatriot Sakkari For Sharing Her Olympic Funds

The Greek No.1 has gained some extra funding thanks to a selfless good deed from his compatriot.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (zimbio.com)

Last month Maria Sakkari received a $30,000 grant from the Greek Tennis Federation to prepare for the Olympic Games, but her response has drawn praise from many.

 

When notified about the sum, the world No.42 immediately requested that it be split and shared with two other players. Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas and Valentini Grammatikopoulou. In Greece athletes receive a set financial grant to help with their Olympic preparations. Sakkari’s gesture was a fine example of the Olympic spirit of athletes helping each other out. To put the grant into perspective. It works out at almost one eighth of what she has earned in prize money so far this season.

“Me, Stefanos, and Valentini are in the Olympic preparation. I got a call from the president and he said I have $30,000 for you. I said I think we should split it because Valentini needs the money more than I do because her ranking position is lower, and of course Stefanos deserves it as much as I do. He’s trying hard and he’s working hard.” Sakkari told wtatennis.com.
“We’re all working hard and we all deserve the same amount of money. I proposed to split the money because it’s the right thing to do.”

The gesture has been welcomed by Tsitsipas, who is currently ranked 43rd in the world. Speaking about Sakkari following his first round win at the Rome Masters, the 19-year-old revealed that he found out about his compatriots decision by reading it in the news.

“It was a very, very nice gesture. I didn’t see that coming, to be honest. I thanked her two, three days ago.” He said.
“And that was very nice from her. Not everyone will do it, to be honest.
“She’s a lovely girl. And she’s also a very good competitor out on the court. And I’m very proud that me and her, we can bring tennis in Greece to another level.”

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Tsitsipas has enjoyed a breakthrough on the tour in recent weeks. At the Barcelona Open he reached his maiden ATP final before losing in straight sets to Rafael Nadal. He followed up on that performance with a run to the semifinals of the Estoril Open a week later.

Shakkari has also enjoyed success on the clay this season. At the Istanbul Open she reached the semi-finals in what was her best performance in a WTA tournament so far this year. Prior to that, she also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Sakkari is currently at a ranking high.

There is a chance that the two Greek No.1s could join forces in the future. Tsitsipas has revealed that they have discussed playing in the Hopman Cup. An annual exhibition event that features mixed teams. This year’s title was won by Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic.

“We talked about it two days ago.” Tsitsipas said on Tuesday.
“Apparently we have had some offers. I hope we can team up together and play, I think, for the first time in Greece. Representing Greece for the first time in the Hopman Cup would be amazing, to be honest. It’s a dream come true.”

Both players are in action at the Italian Open on Wednesday. Sakkari will take on sixth seed Karolina Pliskova. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas faces Juan Martín del Potro.

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Roberto Bautista Agut overcomes Dominik Koepfer in three sets in Hamburg

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Nine-time ATP Tour champion Roberto Bautista Agut came back from a break down in the third set to beat last week’s Rome quarter finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes at the European Open in Hamburg. The nine-time ATP Tour winner converted on 7 of his 17 break points.  

 

Koepfer, who was the only player to win a set against Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, got an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take the first set 6-3. 

Koepfer earned an early break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set. Five consecutive breaks followed, before Koepfer sealed the second set with an unreturned serve after saving two break points in the 10th game. 

Koepfer came back from 0-2 down in the third set by winning three consecutive games to take a break lead at 3-2. Bautista Agut won four consective games with a double break in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set at 6-3. 

Bautista Agut set up a quarter final against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev, who overcame Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Spaniard leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniel Evans to reach the second round in Hamburg

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes to set up a second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. 

 

Tsitsipas forced a forehand error from Evans to get a break for 3-1 and sealed the first set at love with a forehand volley winner. 

The Greek player broke serve in the third game of the second set with a forehand return and a a foehand approach. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the second set 6-1. 

Tsitsipas hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of his points at the net. 

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I have missed playing on clay. It helps for my confidence. I have watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I am delighted to have gotten off to a strong start”, said Tsitsipas. 

Chile’s Christian Garin beat German wild card Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to become the first player to reach the quarter final in Hamburg. Garin broke twice in a row in the sixth and eighth to win the first set 6-2. 

The South American player went up a break at deuce to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Yanfmann converted his third break-back point in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The German player earned another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Garin broke straight back sending the second set to the tie-break. Hanfmann took a 3-1 lead, but Garin reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Benoit Paire withdrew from his first round match against Casper Ruud as he was a set and a break down at 4-6 0-2. The Frenchman revealed after the match that he has tested positive for the coronavirus twice since arriving at the tournament. Paire claimed that he had been told the rule in Germany is different to that in Paris, where positive players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying round due to covid-19. 

“The only negative test was yesterday but I was positive in two consecutive tests. The ATP has to explain to me what the rule is. In Paris some are negative, but because the coach is positive they can’t play. Here in Germany you are positive and can play”, said Paire.  

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