World No. 8 Maria Sakkari admitted she was extremely disappointed with her Australian Open round-of-16 performance. Sakkari, seeded at No. 5, suffered a surprise defeat in the round-of-16 as Jessica Pegula beat the Greek 7-6 (0) 6-3.
After twice recovering from a break down to force a tie-break, Sakkari completely shut down in the tie-break as Pegula absolutely dominated the tie-break to win the first set. Sakkari saved a break point in the second game of the second set but also failed to convert any of her two break points in the third game.
Sakkari paid the price for failing to convert her break points as Pegula broke the Greek in the fourth game and held on to her serve the rest of the way to book a straight-set win. “A disappointing performance today.
The conditions were very fast. Jess was playing, like, extremely fast. I didn't have any answers. I really tried my best, but my game was not even close to, like, 60, 70%. It was just disappointing. And it still is," Sakkari said, per WTA Insider.
Pegula's aggressive approach against Sakkari paid off
"I didn't really want to kind of play a lot of long points," Pegula said after beating Sakkari. "I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chances to.
Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match, I think. "I know that she's always going to fight and compete well. I wasn't really thinking about that [Miami] match. Obviously I know that I need to step up and take my chances.
She did start to play better at the end. She started serving better. In that last game she made me earn it, which is what I thought would happen." Sakkari didn't play well in Australia as she also picked up a round-of-16 defeat in Adelaide.