Maria Sakkari upset the defending champion, Iga Swiatek, in the French Open quarter-final on Wednesday. The 17th-seeded Greek needed an hour and 35 minutes to claim a 6-4, 6-4 win over the Pole. As had been usual for her in Paris in the last two years, it was Swiatek who raced off the blocks with a break right in Sakkari’s first service game in the first set.
However, Sakkari refused to get pushed over and broke back a couple of games later. As the set progressed, it was Sakkari who troubled the eighth seed both with her serves and returns. In the fifth game of the set, Swiatek saved two break points to pull herself ahead but four games later, in the ninth game, she was broken which gave her opponent the chance to serve for the set.
Swiatek had a break point in the 10th game to break back for five-all but Sakkari’s serve came to the rescue and extricated herself from conceding the break. Finally, Sakkari made good on her second set point to lead in the match.
Sakkari’s win of the first set also ended Swiatek’s streak of 22 sets at Roland Garros going back to the 2020 event.
French Open: Maria Sakkari's stunning run continues
In the second set, the world no. 18 opened with a break and accounted for a quick consolidation.
After the second game, trailing 0-2, Swiatek took a medical time-out for her injured right thigh. When play resumed, Sakkari’s level didn’t dip and she had a couple of chances to go up a double break in the fifth game.
While Swiatek didn’t concede her serve thereafter in the match, she wasn’t able to do much damage to Sakkari’s serve either and the latter finished off the match on her second match point in the 10th game of the second set.
Sakkari won 83% points off her first serves as compared to Swiatek’s 70%. She had 26 winners to Swiatek’s 17 and 24 unforced errors to Swiatek’s 25. In the semi-final, Maria Sakkari will play Barbora Krejcikova.
This is the first time in the history of the French Open in the Open Era that all four semi-finalists are first-timers. This win also leaves Sakkari as the highest seed left in the draw.