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Sakkari upsets Williams to reach Western & Southern quarters

por Derick Gaytan (2020-10-23)


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Greece's Maria Sakkari came from behind to beat the United States' Serena Williams 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-1 on Tuesday to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in New York.

Williams, the third seed, served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but Sakkari got the break, and the two held serve the next four games to set up a tiebreaker.

Williams, 38, also led 4-1 in the tiebreaker before Sakkari recovered again.

Sakkari, the 13th seed, ???? rolled to a 5-0 lead in the third set, and Williams had to survive seven match points just to win a single game. Sakkari, 25, closed out the match on her own serve in the ensuing game.

"I think I didn't play great," Sakkari said.

"I knew it was going to be an ugly match on my side, but you know I'm extremely happy with my result.

"It's a dream coming true (to beat Williams). She's a role model for me and I think for many other girls. What she has achieved in our sport is unique and I don't think anyone else is going to do it again -- for sure not for many years.

I really admire her, her whole attitude and everything."

Overall, Williams faced 19 break points and won 14 of them. Sakkari saved two of six break points.

Next up for Sakkari is a match against Great Britain's Johanna Konta, who beat Russia's Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-2.

The tournament's highest remaining seed, No. 4 Naomi Osaka of Japan, blitzed Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska 6-3, 6-1. Osaka's quarterfinal foe will be 12th-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who defeated the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova 6-3, 6-3.

Belgium's Elise Mertens, the 14th seed, topped Russia's Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-3. Mertens will next oppose unseeded American Jessica Pegula, who got past Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

The fourth quarterfinal features a pair of unseeded players, Belarus' Victoria Azarenka and Tunisia's Ons Jabeur. Azarenka, a former world No. 1, defeated France's Alize Cornet 6-4, 7-5, and Jabeur dumped the United States' Christina McHale 6-3, 6-0.

The Western & Southern Open is normally played in Mason, Ohio, but it was moved to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Open will also be held at the same site starting Monday.

--Field Level Media