In Paris, Maria Sakkari upsets defending champion Iga Swiatek to reach the quarterfinals.
Maria Sakkari stunned defending champion Iga Swiatek at the French Open women’s semi-finals, completing an unexpected set of women’s semi-finalists.
Swiatek made her mark on the world stage when she won her first grand slam title in spectacular fashion in October, and this time she was the only player in the quarter-finals who had previously advanced further in any slam.
The Pole was on a winning streak of 11 matches and 22 sets at Roland Garros, but a right thigh injury looked to impact her when she was defeated 6-4 6-4 by Sakkari, the tournament’s highest-ranked player.
The 25-year-old Greek, who has a British coach in Tom Hill, has been making noise at slams for several years but has finally cracked the code here, defeating both of last year’s finals in consecutive matches.
After the Italian Open in Rome last month, she was so fed up with tennis that she went to a Greek island, with Hill urging her to phone him when she was ready to return to work.
Hill admits to being concerned, but added, “I felt she’d be great with a week off.” She has approximately four or five weeks off at the end of the season, and after two days of hitting, she’s back to her old self.”
Sakkari got off to a shaky start, with Swiatek taking a 2-0 lead, but the Pole appeared tense as well, and they were soon back on serve.
Swiatek wasn’t playing as well as normal, putting a lot of balls into the net, while Sakkari was starting to take control of the game with her strong forehand.
Sakkari retained her composure to serve out the set after breaking service at 4-4, and it was a glum-looking Swiatek who retreated to her chair at 2-0 down in the second set to await the trainer.
The 20-year-old, who has also played four doubles matches in the last two weeks, walked off the court and returned with her right leg taped, and while she kept up with her opponent from there, Sakkari did not. (This is a brief piece.)