WTA Rabat: Maria Sakkari edges Johanna Konta for maiden success on the Tour


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WTA Rabat: Maria Sakkari edges Johanna Konta for maiden success on the Tour

Competing in her second WTA final, the 23-year-old Maria Sakkari made a great escape at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, beating Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 57 minutes for the first WTA title.

Konta had the strings of the match firmly in her hands, leading 6-2, 4-2 before Maria launched an impressive comeback, rattling off ten out of the remaining 11 games to lift the first WTA trophy in a career. Sakkari suffered three breaks from as many chances offered to Konta but there was nothing with her initial shot in the last six service games, dropping only six points and finding the rhythm that proved to be too much to handle for Johanna in the rest of the encounter.

The Briton suffered four breaks from nine chances given to the Greek and faded from the court in the decider, unable to impose her shots and move Sakkari from the comfort zone. Johanna sailed through the opening set, serving well and securing a break in game three after a loose backhand from Sakkari.

The Greek struggled to settle into the desired rhythm, spraying a forehand error in game five to lose serve again and fall 4-1 down, with Konta securing the opener with a service winner in the eighth game for a rock-solid 6-2.

There was nothing Maria could do on the return in the first half of the second set as well, sending a backhand long to lose serve in game five and push Johanna two games away from the first WTA title on clay. Out of sudden, the Briton wasted two game points at 4-3 and that proved to be a game changer, with Maria breaking back after a backhand error from her rival.

With the momentum on her side, Sakkari grabbed another break in game ten following a poor forehand from Konta, taking the set and becoming the favorite before the decider. There, Maria lost only four points behind the initial shot and secured breaks in games four and six to move 5-1 up, sealing the deal with a forehand down the line winner in game seven to cross the finish line and start a huge celebration.