World No 8 Maria Sakkari has emulated Anna Kournikova's negative record from 2000 after losing each of her first six semifinals of the 2023 season, per OptaAce. In 2000, former world No 8 Kournikova ended on the losing side in each of her first six semifinals of the season.
This past Saturday, Sakkari was beaten in the Berlin semifinal as Donna Vekic beat the Greek 6-4 7-6 (8). Following the Vekic loss, Sakkari's semifinals record in 2023 was pushed to 0-6. At the United Cup, Sakkari was beaten by Martina Trevisan in the semifinal meeting between Greece and Italy.
In February, Sakkari lost the semifinals in Linz and Doha. After losing her first three semifinals of the year, Sakkari also suffered back-to-back losses to Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals of Indian Wells and Miami.
6 - Maria Sakkari is 0-6 in semi-finals this season (including the United Cup): she is the first female player to lose her first six SFs in a single year since Anna Kournikova in 2000.
Sakkari emulates Kournikova's negative record
There is no doubt that Sakkari entered the Vekic match determined to end her losing streak in the semifinals.
But unfortunately for Sakkari, it didn't happen. After saving a total of four break points in her first two service games, Sakkari couldn't do the same in the fifth game as Vekic claimed the first break of the match. Sakkari managed to get the break back in the sixth game but Vekic again broke the Greek in the seventh game to open a 4-3 lead.
This time, Vekic held on to her serve and ended up sealing the first set. After losing the first set, Sakkari broke Vekic in the second game of the second set for a 2-0 lead. But Sakkari's lead was short-lived as Vekic got the break back immediately in the third game.
Sakkari broke Vekic again in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead but then failed to serve out for the second set in the ninth game. The second set then went into a tie-break, where Sakkari saved three match points before Vekic converted her fourth match point to complete a two-set win over the Greek.