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Sakkari halts Begu to advance to semis, faces Sabalenka

Madrid Open: Sakkari halts Begu to advance to semis, faces Sabalenka.(photo:WTA). Image Source: IANS News

Madrid : , May 3 (IANS) No.9 seed Maria Sakkari advanced to the semifinals at the Madrid Open after she outlasted No.31 seed Irina-Camelia Begu 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, here on Tuesday night.

Sakkari had to come from behind to win against the Romanian. After losing a marathon opening set that lasted well over an hour, Sakkari bounced back to wrap up victory in 2 hours and 52 minutes.

Already a first-time quarterfinalist in Madrid, Sakkari is now through to her eighth career WTA 1000 semifinal. She’ll seek a berth in her third final at this level against No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, who also came from a set down in her own quarterfinal victory over Mayar Sherif.

After she failed to secure a double-break lead as an opportunity passed her by in the fifth game, Sakkari saved a breakpoint with a sliding backhand volley that helped her stretch her lead to 4-2. This time, Sakkari earned an insurance break to lead 5-2 and closed out the win.

“Her gameplan was very different from any other that I faced the last few years on the tour. It’s not easy to face those moon balls because you want to hit the ball, but you cannot because the altitude does not help you. I’m glad it was a mental win today because tennis-wise it wasn’t as good as yesterday. I’ll give myself a chance to play better tennis in a couple of days,” said Sakkari on her scrappy win.

Sakkari and Sabalenka will meet for the ninth time. They’ve already played once this year, with Sabalenka winning 6-2, 6-3 last month in the semifinals of the
Indian Wells Masters.

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