US Open: Hail Maria! Maria Sakkari bests Tatjana Maria in 1R



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US Open: Hail Maria! Maria Sakkari bests Tatjana Maria in 1R

Maria Sakkari had to fight past Tatjana Maria to reach the second round of the 2022 US Open on Monday. The third-seeded Greek, who’s defending semi-final points this year from 2021, needed an hour and 55 minutes to get through, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 against the German.

The match began on a worrisome note for Sakkari who dropped her first service game – on a double fault – to give Maria an early lead. The latter had no problems in consolidating the break and in what seemed to be no time, built a 4-1 lead for herself.

Maria's slices troubled Sakkari who wasn’t able to execute her game. Errors spilled from Sakkari's racquet giving her opponent further momentum in the set. However, the sixth game onwards, Sakkari started to impose herself on the proceedings.

While Sakkari more surety on her shots, Maria's game started to waver. In the ninth game of the set, two straight double faults gave Sakkari a chance to come back in the set and take a lead for the first time. In the following game, while serving for the set, Sakkari fended off three break back points to win her fifth consecutive game to claim the set and the lead in the match.

The second set followed the exact same path as the first with Maria breaking Sakkari in the second game and then going on to take a 4-1 lead. However, with Sakkari's game floundering all over again and with Maria not losing her ground, there were no opportunities for the higher-ranked player to make a comeback.

Sakkari did save a set point on her serve in the eighth game of the set but wasn’t able to prevent Maria from serving it out in the following game. As it turned out, the ninth game of the second set was the last that Maria would win.

The third set saw Sakkari running a tired-looking Maria ragged all around the court. Sakkari eventually wrapped up the match on her first match point on her opponent’s serve in the sixth game of the set. The 27-year-old hit 33 winners and had 39 unforced errors.

Maria finished the match with 14 winners and 22 unforced errors. In the second round, Sakkari will play either Diane Parry or Xiyu Wang.

US Open: A summary of other results

Earlier, Anna Kalinskaya was the first winner of the 2022 edition of the Major.

Kalinskaya beat Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3, 6-4 in their first-round match. Kalinskaya will take on 17th seed Caroline Garcia. The Frenchwoman who’s being considered as one of the favourites in New York this year, defeated lucky loser, Kamilla Rakhimova, 6-2, 6-4.

Lastly, among the early winners on the first day of the 2022 US Open were also the 29th-seeded Alison Riske-Amritraj and Camila Osorio. The American got past fellow country woman, wildcard, Eleana Yu, 6-2, 6-4. The Colombian came from a set down to oust another American, Ann Li, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Photo Credit: WTA