Maria Sakkari did her best today, playing against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, but ended up losing 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 20 minutes.
The Queenslander described Greece’s rising tennis star as a “great friend” ahead of the match, which saw both emerging players in great form, delivering a spectacle that kept viewers on edge.
Particularly the first set was tightly-contested, the two opponents staying toe to toe with each other, both creating break chances in the first two games. Barty was first to break though – and later the first to reach set point with a break chance at 5-4. Sakkari didn’t let it go unanswered, but the No.15 seed managed to seal the set two games later.
From then on, Barty’s prevalence was apparent, despite taking a medical time-out after the first set. Gaining confidence, the Queenslander directed the balls to the middle of the court, depriving a clearly frustrated Sakkari of the angles she prefers. Winning five games in a row, Barty edged Sakkari out of the third round, stopping her Australian Open dream to move to the fourth round.
In total, Barty fired 13 aces – with no double faults – across both sets, and wracked up 29 winners and 20 unforced errors, while Sakkari was contained to just nine and 26, respectively.