Maria Sakkari won her sixth match in a row, as she moved into the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Open on Thursday. The fourth seed won against Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and five minutes in what was her opening-round encounter in the Japanese event.
The Greek lost only three of 23 points played on her first serve and won 14 of 20 points played on her second serve. She also won 10 of 14 points on return on the home player’s second serve. The 28-year-old, ranked sixth in the world, also converted four of six break points on her opponent’s serve.
Her near-impeccable serving stats meant she didn’t face, let alone save, any break point.
Tokyo Open: Maria Sakkari's respectful words for Misak Doi
Sakkari’s win also brought an end to Misaki Doi’s career.
The 32-year-old was set to leave the sport after this week on account of health problems preventing her from playing at the level she wanted. After the win, Sakkari didn’t talk about the result but credited her opponent.
She shared, “I don't want to talk about me today. It was an honour to play against Misaki in her last ever professional match. You deserve to enjoy life, enjoy yourself, have some fun. We know how tough the tennis life is.
So, take some time, and I'm sure you'll find a way to find something special again in your life. You had an amazing career, so congrats”. In the quarter-finals, Sakkari’s set a rematch against Caroline Garcia. Garcia, who’s seeded fifth this week, beat Anhelina Kalinina in their second-round clash, 6-4, 6-3 in 91 minutes.
Garcia saved three of four break points she faced while converting three of seven break points that emerged on the Ukrainian’s serve. Last week, at the Guadalajara Open, Sakkari had gotten past Garcia 6-3, 6-0 in the semi-finals.
Sakkari’s compatriot, Despina Papamichail, however, had a tough match-up against Daria Kasatkina. The sixth seed posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over the Greek qualifier after exactly two hours of play. In the second set, Papamichail attempted a comeback as she bounced from two breaks down but in the end, Kasatkina went on to prevail.
Lastly, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made a place for herself in the quarters of the Tokyo Open. Pavlyuchenkova and her rival, Linda Fruhvirtova played the only three-setter of the day with the older opponent coming through 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
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