Maria Sakkari

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Maria Sakkari
Sakkari RG19 (41) (48199111587).jpg
Maria Sakkari at the 2019 French Open
Country (sports) Greece
ResidenceMonte Carlo, Monaco
Born (1995-07-25) 25 July 1995 (age 25)
Athens, Greece
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Turned pro2015
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
CoachThomas Johansson (2017–18)
Mark Petchey (2018)
Tom Hill (2018–)
Prize moneyUS$ 4,288,034
Singles
Career record348–230 (60.2%)
Career titles1 WTA, 7 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 18 (17 May 2021)
Current rankingNo. 18 (17 May 2021)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (2020)
French OpenSF (2021)
Wimbledon3R (2017, 2019)
US Open4R (2020)
Doubles
Career record51–43 (54.3%)
Career titles5 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 169 (9 September 2019)
Current rankingNo. 230 (31 May 2021)
Team competitions
Fed Cup12–18 (40.0%)
Hopman CupRR (2019)
Last updated on: 14 June 2021.

Maria Sakkari (Greek: Μαρία Σάκκαρη, pronounced [maˈri.a ˈsakari]; born 25 July 1995) is a Greek professional tennis player. On 17 May 2021, she reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 18. Her best WTA doubles ranking is 169, achieved on 9 September 2019.[1]

Sakkari has won one singles title on the WTA Tour, at 2019 Morocco Open, where she defeated Johanna Konta in the final. She was also semifinalist of 2017 Wuhan Open, where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki en route, her first top-10 win.[2] In 2019, she reached another Premier 5 semifinal at the Italian Open where she defeated, among other players, Petra Kvitová.[3] In 2020, Sakkari reached the fourth round at both the Australian Open and US Open, and in 2021 she has reached the semifinals at the French Open.

Sakkari is known for her aggressive, all-court style of play, centered around her strong serve and powerful groundstrokes. Sakkari served the sixth most aces of any WTA player in 2020, with 144 aces served in 31 matches.[4]

Early and personal life[edit]

Sakkari was born on 25 July 1995 to mother Angelikí Kanellopoúlou who is former top-50 tennis player and father Konstantinos Sakkaris, in the capital of Greece, Athens. She has two siblings: brother Yannis and sister Amanda. She was introduced by her parents to tennis at age 6 and moved to Barcelona at age 18 in order to train. She has said that her favorite surfaces are hard and clay and that her favorite shot is the serve. Growing up, her favourite players were Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.[5] Sakkari currently resides in Monte Carlo.[6]

Professional career[edit]

2015–16: WTA debut, Grand Slam debut, top 100[edit]

Maria Sakkari in 2015

Sakkari's first two attempts to debut on the WTA Tour were unsuccessful. At the Rio Open, she lost in the first round of qualifying to María Irigoyen, and later lost in the final stage of qualifying at Bucharest Open to Daria Kasatkina. However, on her third attempt, she not only made her debut on WTA Tour, but it was at a major, as she qualified for US Open.[7] In the qualifying, she beat Anastasija Sevastova, An-Sophie Mestach and Petra Martić, but then lost in the first round of the main draw to Wang Qiang.[8] After the US Open, Sakkari entered the top 200 for the first time, reaching a ranking of 185. By the end of the year, she only played on the ITF Circuit and on the WTA Challenger Tour, where she reached semifinals at the Carlsbad Classic. Sakkari ended the year ranked 188.

Sakkari at the 2016 Wimbledon

Sakkari started 2016 season with no-passing qualification at Brisbane International and Hobart International. At the Australian Open, she first qualified, and then, in the first round of main draw, achieved a win against Wang Yafan.[9] That win was her first at WTA Tour, as well as her first Grand Slam match win. In the second round, she lost to Carla Suárez Navarro.[10] At Mexican Open in Acapulco, she was eliminated in the first round by Johanna Larsson.[11] At the Indian Wells Open, she attempted to qualify for the first Premier Mandatory/Premier 5 tournament in main draw, but failed in the first round of qualification.[12] In Miami, she succeeded to qualify, but lost in the first round of the main draw to Irina-Camelia Begu.[13]

Her second win on the WTA Tour was at the Istanbul Cup where she defeated top seed Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. After beating Hsieh Su-wei in second round, she reached her first WTA Tour quarterfinal, where she lost to Danka Kovinić.[14] In Madrid, she failed to reach the to main draw, losing to Patricia Maria Țig in the final stage of qualifying.[15] Competing the qualifying at the 2016 French Open, she missed the chance to play in the main draw, losing her first match to Grace Min.[16]

Sakkari got through qualifying for Wimbledon and won her first match at that tournament, defeating Zheng Saisai, but then lost in the second round to five-time former Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams.[17] After this result, on July 11, 2016, she reached 97 in the rankings.

In Cincinnati, she lost in the qualifying to Zheng.[18] At the US Open, she only reached the first round, where Duan Yingying defeated her, but it was her first Grand-Slam appearance in the main draw without need to play in qualifying.[19][20] At the China Open, she lost in final stage of qualifying to Wang Yafan.[21]

2017: First Premier 5 semifinal and top-ten win, top 50[edit]

In 2017, she reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at the Australian Open, where she lost in the third round to Mirjana Lučić-Baroni.[22] In both Indian Wells and Miami, she failed in qualifying. She started the clay-court season at Charleston Open, where she got to the second round where she lost to Jeļena Ostapenko.[23] In Madrid and Rome, Sakkari lost in the qualifying. At French Open, she debuted in main draw, where she lost in the first round to Carla Suárez Navarro.[24]

Grass-court season went better for Sakkari, reaching the quarterfinals at Nottingham Open and her first third round at Wimbledon, where Johanna Konta stopped her from going into round of 16.[25][26]

At the US Open, she reached the same stage as she did at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, making the third round for the third time. In the first two rounds, she defeated Kiki Bertens and Arina Rodionova, but was eliminated by Venus Williams in the third round.[27][28] She reached her first WTA Tour semifinal at the Wuhan Open by beating Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Vesnina and Alizé Cornet, but then missed her chance to reach her first WTA final, losing to Caroline Garcia.[29][30] This success propelled her into the top 50 of the WTA rankings, reaching No. 50, on 2 October 2017.[31] Her last tournament of the season was the Tianjin Open, where Christina McHale eliminated her in the second round.[32]

2018: First WTA final and top-30 debut[edit]

Sakkari started 2018 season with four first-round losses, against Danka Kovinić in Shenzhen, Kateřina Siniaková at Australian Open, Julia Görges in St. Petersburg, and Sorana Cîrstea in Doha.[33][34][35][36] In Dubai, she reached the final stage of qualification, but did not make it to the main draw, losing to Samantha Stosur.[37] In Acapulco, she recorded her first win of the 2018 season, defeating Lara Arruabarrena in the first round, but lost against Stefanie Vögele in the second.[38] At Indian Wells, Sakkari managed to beat Donna Vekić, 16th seed Ashleigh Barty and 17th seed CoCo Vandeweghe, respectively.[39] She lost in the fourth round to the eventual champion, Naomi Osaka. At the Miami Open, she defeated Aleksandra Krunić and 28th seed Anett Kontaveit, and reached the third round where she lost to Monica Puig.[40]

Sakkari started her clay-court season by reaching her first semifinal in 2018 in (Istanbul) where she beat Çağla Büyükakçay, Aleksandra Krunić and Arantxa Rus, respectively, before losing to Polona Hercog.[41] She then lost in the first round of the Madrid Open to Kiki Bertens.[42] Her next tournament was the Italian Open, where she avenged her Madrid exit by beating Bertens in the first round, and then had her second win against a top-ten player by beating Karolína Plíšková.[43][44] She lost in the third round to Angelique Kerber.[45] At the French Open, she reached the third round, after defeating Mandy Minella and Carla Suárez Navarro and then she completed third rounds at all Grand Slam tournaments. In the third round, she lost to 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.[46]

Sakkari lost all of her matches at grass-court season. She was defeated by Julia Görges at the Birmingham Classic, Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Eastbourne International, and by Sofia Kenin at Wimbledon.[47][48][49]

The US hardcourt series started well for Sakkari, reaching her first WTA final at the San Jose Classic, where she beat Christina McHale, Tímea Babos, third seed Venus Williams, and Danielle Collins before she lost to Mihaela Buzărnescu in the final.[50] On 6 August, she reached a new career-high ranking of No. 31. After that result, she was not successful in the rest of the US Series, reaching only first rounds at the Rogers Cup and Connecticut Open where she lost to Daria Kasatkina and Zarina Diyas, respectively, as well as only second rounds at the Cincinnati Open and US Open.[51][52] At Cincinnati, she beat Naomi Osaka in the first round and avenged her loss in Indian Wells earlier that year.[53] However, in the second round, Anett Kontaveit knocked her out of the tournament.[54] When the US Open started, she debuted in the top 30. At the US Open, she was seeded for the first time at any Grand Slam championship (No. 32), and she had to play against two Americans in the first two rounds, winning against Asia Muhammad, but then lost to Sofia Kenin.[55]

At the Korea Open, Sakkari made her first WTA semifinal, defeating Anna Karolína Schmiedlová, Margarita Gasparyan and Irina-Camelia Begu, respectively, in first three rounds, before she was defeated by Kiki Bertens in the semifinal.[56] At both the Wuhan Open and China Open, Sakkari failed in the first rounds, losing to Wang Qiang and Donna Vekić, respectively. In her last two tournaments in 2018, Tianjin Open and Luxembourg Open, Sakkari failed in the first round. She finished the year inside the top 50, reaching No. 41.

2019: First WTA title, Rome semifinalist, five top-ten wins[edit]

Sakkari in 2019

Sakkari started year with a first-round loss at Hobart, where Magda Linette defeated her. Sakkari reached the third round at the Australian Open, defeating Jeļena Ostapenko and Astra Sharma, before she was eliminated by Ashleigh Barty.[57][58][59] At next three tournaments, Sakkari was eliminated in the first rounds: at St. Petersburg by Julia Görges, at the Mexican Open by Monica Puig, and at Indian Wells by Christina McHale. At the Miami Open, she defeated Olga Danilović in the first round, but lost to No. 3, Petra Kvitová, in the second.

2019 is so far the most successful clay-court season for Sakkari. She started playing at Charleston Open, where she defeated Conny Perrin, Andrea Petkovic and second seed Kiki Bertens, respectively. Then she reached quarterfinal where she was defeated by fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki. At İstanbul Cup, she failed in first round from Veronika Kudermetova. The Morocco Open was special for Sakkari, because it has been so far her only tournament where she succeeded to win title. On her road to the final, she defeated Olga Danilović, Isabella Shinikova, Elise Mertens, Alison Van Uytvanck, and then, in the final, she defeated Johanna Konta.[60] After winning the title, she climbed from 51 to place 39 in the WTA rankings.[61] While in Madrid she did not have much success, reaching only first round, in Rome she firstly passed qualification and then she reached her second career-Premier-5 semifinal, but there lost to the eventual champion Karolína Plíšková.[62] At the French Open, she was seeded for the first time there at No. 29, and she reached second round, winning against Anna Tatishvili in first round, but lost in second round to Kateřina Siniaková.[63]

On grass court, first she got to the quarterfinal of the Nottingham Open, where she lost to Jennifer Brady.[64][65] Then at the Birmingham Classic, she was eliminated in the first round by Naomi Osaka.[66] In Eastbourne, she beat Jessica Pegula, but Johanna Konta stopped her from going further than round one.[67] At Wimbledon, she reached her second third round there, beating Bernarda Pera and Marie Bouzková, but then lost to Elina Svitolina in the third round.[68]

In San Jose, she played her second semifinal there, winning against top-seeded Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinal, but this time she did not make it to the final, losing in her semifinal match to Zheng Saisai.[69] At Rogers Cup, she lost to Alison Riske in the first round. In Cincinnati, she reached a new Premier-5 quarterfinal, before she lost to world No. 1, Ashleigh Barty, in three sets.[70] At the US Open, she lost in third round, again to Barty.[71]

Back in Europe, she only played one tournament. She played at Kremlin Cup, where in first round, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat her in three sets.[72] For the first time in Sakkari's career, she qualified for some year-end championships. At WTA Elite Trophy, she lost both matches in her group, to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.[73][74]

2020: Solid results, top-20 debut, win over Serena Williams[edit]

Sakkari was successful at the first Grand Slam tournament of year, the Australian Open, where she reached her first Grand Slam round of 16. Victories over Margarita Gasparyan (first round), Nao Hibino (second round) and No. 11 Madison Keys (third round) propelled her to the round of 16, where she was defeated by Petra Kvitová in three sets.[75] At her next tournament, she continued this success. She played at the St. Petersburg Trophy, where she reached her new Premier semifinal. She won against Vitalia Diatchenko and Alizé Cornet in first two-round, and then in quarterfinal, she made her new top-10 win, defeating No. 5 Belinda Bencic, before new rising star, Elena Rybakina, stopped her from reaching the final.[76] In Dubai, she did not do well, losing in the first round to seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka.[77] In Doha, she did much better, winning against Julia Görges and Tereza Martincová in first two rounds, but again, Aryna Sabalenka was too strong for her.[78] After the comeback of the WTA Tour, after COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Sakkari first played at Palermo International, where she was eliminated in first round from Kristýna Plíšková.[79] At the Cincinnati Open, Sakkari made another quarterfinal. In round one, she defeated young American player Coco Gauff, in second round Yulia Putintseva, and then in third round, she had one of her biggest career wins, defeating Serena Williams in three sets. However, in the quarterfinal, she lost to Johanna Konta.[80][81] At the US Open, she continued her great performance, reaching round of 16 for the first time there. She defeated Stefanie Vögele, Bernarda Pera and Amanda Anisimova, before Serena Williams stopped her from reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.[82] At the French Open, as the No. 20 seed, Sakkari reached her second third round; against qualifier Martina Trevisan, she had match points but missed the chance to reach the round of 16.[83]

2021: Third WTA 1000 semifinal, first Grand Slam semifinal[edit]

Sakkari started off the season strongly making the quarterfinals of Abu Dhabi without dropping a set with wins over Anastasia Potapova, Coco Gauff and Garbiñe Muguruza. She then came from a set down to upset top seed Sofia Kenin[84] before losing to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. She then backed this up with a semifinal appearance at the Grampians Trophy before losing to Anett Kontaveit in a three set thriller. However, she was unable to match her previous success at the Australian Open falling in three sets to Kristina Mladenovic. She rebounded with a quarterfinal appearance in Doha losing to eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets.[85] She crashed out of the Dubai Championships to eventual finalist Barbora Krejčíková in the first round. However she bounced back in Miami. She beat her opening opponents Arantxa Rus and Ludmilla Samsonova in the second and third rounds, respectively, for the loss of six games combined. She then saved six match points in a three-set thriller against surging American Jessica Pegula to reach her third WTA 1000 quarterfinal.[86] There she faced Naomi Osaka who had not lost a match in over a year and was on a 23 match-winning streak. Sakkari caused one of the upsets of the tournament in defeating the second seed in straight sets. With the win, she ended Osaka's chances of reclaiming the world-No.-1 ranking and reached the biggest semifinal of her career. She then faced Bianca Andreescu for a place in the final but was herself comprehensively defeated in a third set tiebreaker.

Sakkari made her first ever Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open after beating Katarina Zavatska, Jasmine Paolini, Elise Mertens, Sofia Kenin, and defending champion Iga Swiatek, ending the 11-match, 22-set Roland Garros winning streak of the 2020 champion. She became the first woman from Greece to reach a Grand Slam singles quarterfinal and later semifinal.[87] It was also the first time in major history that two Greek players (Sakkari and Tsitsipas) were in the semifinals of a Grand Slam.

National representation[edit]

Sakkari made her debut for the Greece Fed Cup team in 2012, and has a Fed Cup win/loss record of 12–18 to date.[88]

Career statistics[edit]

Grand Slam performance timelines[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# P# A P Z# PO G F-S SF-B NMS NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (P#) preliminary round; (A) absent; (P) postponed; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

P = postponed

Singles[edit]

Tournament 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A 2R 3R 1R 3R 4R 1R 0 / 6 8–6 57%
French Open A Q1 1R 3R 2R 3R SF 0 / 5 10–5 67%
Wimbledon A 2R 3R 1R 3R NH 0 / 4 5–4 56%
US Open 1R 1R 3R 2R 3R 4R 0 / 6 8–6 57%
Win–Loss 0–1 2–3 6–4 3–4 7–4 8–3 5–2 0 / 21 31–21 60%
Career statistics
Titles 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 Career total: 1
Finals 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 Career total: 2
Year-end ranking 188 89 52 41 23 22 $4,288,034

Doubles[edit]

Tournament 2018 2019 2020 2021 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A 1R 1R A 0 / 2 0–2 0%
French Open 1R A A A 0 / 1 0–1 0%
Wimbledon 1R 2R NH 0 / 2 1–2 33%
US Open A 2R A 0 / 1 1–1 50%
Win–Loss 0–2 2–3 0–1 0–0 0 / 6 2–6 25%

References[edit]

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