Maria Sakkari Upsets Defending Champion Iga Swiatek in Straight Sets to Reach French Open 2021 Semifinals

Published 06/09/2021, 9:10 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021 Greece’s Maria Sakkari reacts during her quarter final match against Poland’s Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


Greek professional Maria Sakkari put on yet another incredible performance at the French Open 2021, beating the defending champion, Iga Swiatek, 4-6, 4-6 in the quarterfinals.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Coming into this match, the 20-year-old Pole had registered a comfortable win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk. On the other side, the 25-year-old Greek had denied last year’s finalist Sofia Kenin in the fourth round.

Thus, both players were ready and eager to make it to the Roland-Garros 2021 semifinals. In that process, they both snatched an early break in the opening set.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Watch this story: Champions!: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, And Others’ Trophy Lift at French Open

Maria Sakkari dominates Iga Swiatek in the opening set

Undoubtedly, Swiatek has shown unparalleled confidence in her title defense campaign. It even helped her get the first break in the second game, giving her a 2-0 lead in the quarterfinal match.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021, Greece’s Maria Sakkari reacts during her quarter final match against Poland’s Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

However, Sakkari answered back immediately and recovered the break. She also managed to keep the aggressive Pole at bay, backing her break for a 2-2 scoreline.

What came further was what tennis fans expect from a Slam quarterfinal. Both Sakkari and Swiatek leveled up in the fifth game. Although the Greek got herself break points, the Pole kept her composure and held her serve at 3-2.

Following that, the duo each dominated on their serve. Moreover, Sakkari and Swiatek equally tried to hit winners more quickly, and hence their unforced errors meter ran even faster. At 4-4, there was nothing to separate the two on any parameter.

Afterward, things went down for the reigning champion as she lost her serve in the ninth game. Despite saving a set point in the next game, Swiatek failed to stop Sakkari from closing the set.

A surprise end to the opening set; the score: 4-6 in favor of Sakkari.

DIVE DEEPER

Coco Gauff Bows Out of French Open 2021, Squanders 5 Set Points Against Barbora Krejicova To End Her Slam Fantasy

3 days ago

Swiatek vs. Sakkari: Second set

Inarguably, the 2021 Italian Open champion had a lot to work to do to reach the semifinals in Paris. It was all nerves that made things more difficult for Swiatek.

Consequently, the 20-year-old kept missing on finding the court, whereas Sakkari boosted her confidence on every opportunity. In no time, the first-time Slam quarterfinalist from Greek was four games away from making it into the last four at Roland-Garros.

Trailing 0-2 in the second set, Swiatek left the court for a three-minute medical time-out, citing a troubling thigh. In the meantime, Sakkari kept warming up to stay in the match mood.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021, Poland’s Iga Swiatek receives medical attention after sustaining an injury during her quarter final match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Fortunately, the break settled the young Pole’s nerves as she comfortably held her service. Conversely, the Greek professional enjoyed her time on the court, and she did not give Swiatek any free points.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The disappointed Swiatek pushed herself farther away from returning to the match. Without a fight, Sakkari came one game away from the next round, leading 4-6, 3-5.

As a final fight, the defending champion held her serve to stay in the match and asked Sakkari to serve it out. Overpowering her opponent until the end, the Greek ended the match with her best game. Moreover, she became the second first-time semifinalist of the tournament, winning it 4-6, 4-6.

She will meet another first-time Slam semifinalist Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the French Open 2021 final. Will the Swiatek upset help Sakkari clinch her maiden Grand Slam title?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

“Dealing With This Since 2018”: Former WNBA Champion Lauds Naomi Osaka After French Open 2021 Withdrawal

3 days ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Purav Joshi

782 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT