An all-unseeded quarterfinal at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open found Maria Sakkari coming from a set and a break down to deny Ons Jabeur a breakthrough, triumphing 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach her second semifinal of the season.
The Greek world No. 23 trailed by a set and 0-2 in the face of a great performance by Jabeur – but a near-perfect service game was the trigger for a brilliant turnaround in which Sakkari won 12 of the last 14 games, committing just six unforced errors over the last two sets.
“I think that Ons, she came up with some tricky shots in the first set – I couldn’t really find a way to make her life tougher,” mused Sakkari afterwards.
“But just the fact that I know I can stay on court for a long time gives me a lot of help and hope, so I just said, stay with her, stay with her, and finally I got that break I was looking for – and things got better for me after that.”
For Jabeur, though, the satisfaction of demonstrating newfound consistency in her breakthrough season by reaching a fifth quarterfinal will be balanced by disappointment at losing each of her matches at this stage. Jabeur fell in the last eight of the Australian Open to Sofia Kenin, Doha to Petra Kvitova, Lexington to Coco Gauff and Cincinnati to Victoria Azarenka.
After beating the always tricky shot repertoire of Jabeur, which includes lots of slice and drop shots, Sakkari said, “Knowing that I can stay on court for a long time gives me a lot of help and hope. I thought to myself, ‘Stay with her, stay with her, stay with her.’
“Finally, I got that break [in the second set] I was hoping for. Things got better for me after that.”
Sakkari finished with seven aces, no double faults and won 79 percent (34 of 43) of her first-serve points – up from her season average of 67 percent – and 52 percent (12 of 23) of her second serves. Sakkari saved three of the five break-points she faced.
Next up for Sakkari will be former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka – a legend of the game whom she will meet for the first time.
“Vika is a great champion, she has achieved unbelievable things in tennis. It’s going to be a very tough match for me, but I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
Sourced By: WTA Tennis