Maria Sakkari Dedicates Quarter-Final Victory To Greece At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sakkari Dedicates Quarter-Final Victory To Greece At US Open

Maria Sakkari has dedicated her run to the US Open semi-finals to her home country, Greece.

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Maria Sakkari (Darren Carroll/USTA)

Maria Sakkari has dedicated her latest US Open victory to Greece after reaching her second grand slam semi-final.

 

The 17th seed is into her second grand slam semi-final after beating two-time grand slam finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-4.

Sakkari hit 22 winners and just 12 unforced errors as she converted two of her five break points to seal a place in the last four at the US Open.

In her post-match press conference, Sakkari dedicated her latest victory to her home country Greece and described what her deep run in New York means to the country, “Well, I think it’s a big thing for Greece,” Sakkari told the press.

“I didn’t have a chance to say that on court, I want to dedicate this win to Greece because we struggled a lot last month with some fire damages. So for me winning for Greece, making Greek people proud and happy, especially in difficult times, it makes me even more happy because you know how much I love my country.

“What I witnessed after the French was only good things. I never heard a bad comment from someone. They were all coming to me with a very nice smile and very nice words to say. I can only embrace that and just have good memories from it because that’s not going to last for my entire life. I’m going to be remembered, for sure, but I’m not going to be an active player in 10 years or 15 years.”

Whatever happens in Sakkari’s career she and Stefanos Tsitsipas would have made Greek tennis history that will be remembered for a long time to come.

On Thursday Sakkari will play her second grand slam semi-final having lost her first one to Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros in a dramatic three set match.

Speaking in her press conference Sakkari spoke about the differences between then and now with the Greek claiming she is playing better tennis now, “I could have closed that match at the third set. I think I will do things differently this time,” Sakkari admitted.

“But I feel like my tennis is better now than it was at the French. I’m more prepared. I’m ready. But as I mentioned earlier, we all have equal chances of making the finals. After reaching my first Grand Slam semi-final at the French, I felt like I can do it again. It was not luck because I beat all these good players.

“That gives me a lot of confidence because I beat some very, very good players to reach the semi-finals this time. I’m actually feeling really well. I don’t want to jinx it. My tennis looks in a great place right now. Mentally I’m pretty calm.

“I don’t want to get too excited for this win today because I have to play tomorrow. If I had a day off, it would be different. I’m very excited to play my second semi-final.”

Sakkari will have a massive opportunity to reach her first grand slam final when she takes on British qualifier Emma Raducanu.

The Brit is yet to drop a set through qualifying and the main draw having just beaten Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in the last eight.

However Sakkari has said she is not favourite for the match, “But I wouldn’t call myself the favourite. I think we all have equal chances of winning the semi-finals and then winning the title. I would give 25% to each starting tomorrow, then 50 to the two finalists. We are all for a reason here. We’re all playing well.”

The match will be the second night session match which will roughly be at 2am BST.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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James Duckworth beats Ilya Ivashka to reach the final in Nur Sultan

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James Duckworth has reached his first ATP Tour after his 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win over Ilya Ivashka after 2 hours and 2 minutes at the Astana Open in Nur Sultan. 

 

Duckworth converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3.

Ivashka broke serve in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. Duckworth broke straight back in the fifth game. Duckworth fended off two set points at 4-5 in the second set.  Ivashka saved two break points. Duckworth got two mini-breaks to earn three match points at 6-3. Ivashka pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Duckworth sealed the tie-break 7-4 on his second match point. 

“I am really excited. I am thrilled. It was a really tough match. Ilya has been playing some great tennis. We have played twice already this year. Both times went to three sets”, said Duckworth. 

Ivashka won the title in Winston Salem and claimed 11 of his past 12 matches before today’s match against Duckworth. 

Duckworth set up a final against Sonwoo Kwon, who rallied from one set down to beat Alexander Bublik 3-6 7-5 6-3 after two hours and four minutes to advance to his first ATP Tour final. 

Bublik earned the first break of the match in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. Kwon broke in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Bublik converted his sixth break-back point in the third game to hold serve. Kwon saved a break point in the ninth game before breaking serve in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. Kwon broke serve in the fourth game to win the third set 6-3. 

“It will be a tough match. Kwon is more of a baseliner. I will have to be ready. I am just going to recover the best I can and come out tomorrow and see what happens”, said Duckworth.

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Maria Sakari reaches her first WTA Tour final since 2019 in Ostrava

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Maria Sakkari has reached her first WTA Tour final since 2019 after nine consecutive tour-level semifinal defeats, by beating number 1 seed Iga Swiatek 6-4 7-5 after 1 hour and 51 minutes at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Sakkari won her only title on the clay court of Rabat. Swiatek had never lost a tour-level semifinal and had a win-loss record of 2-0 in her semifinals played in 2021. The Greek player lost to Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals in Ostrava last year. 

Sakkari has extended her win-loss record to 2-0 in her head-to-head matches against Swiatek. In their only previous match Sakkari beat Swiatek in the French Open quarter final last June ending the Pole’s Roland Garros title defense. 

Sakkari won 77% of her first service points and hit 22 winners to 19 unforced errors. 

Sakkari hit a forehand winner to earn her only break in the opening game of the first set. The Greek player did not face a single break point in the first set. 

Sakkari had to save a break point at the start of the second set before holding serve for 2-2. Sakkari earned the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Swiatek broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. 

Sakkari converted her third break point with a forehand winner down the line to take a 6-5 lead and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Sakkari set up a final against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who cruised past Petra Kvitova 6-0 6-4 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. The Estonian player scored her third top 10 win of the year after beating Sofia Kenin in Stuttgart and Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne. She has reached her fourth final in 2021 after winning her second career title in Cleveland, finishing runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko in Eastbourne and sharing the Grampians Trophy with Ann Li after the final was not played due to a scheduling delay. 

Kontaveit hit 18 winners to just 7 unforced errors. Kvitova made 28 unforced errors to 11 winners. Kontaveit broke serve three times to take a bagel win in the first set, as Kvitova made 16 unforced errors to just 2 winners. 

Kvitova won her first game in the opening game of the second set. Kontaveit broke serve at love in the fifth game with a backhand winner to take a 3-2 lead.Kvitova saved a match point to hold serve to hold serve for 5-4 and hit a lob to earn her first break point of the match in the next game, as Kontaveit was serving for the win. Kontaveit saved it and closed out the match by forcing a final eror from Kvitova with a big backhand.  

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