French Open: Sakkari knocks out Kenin to reach maiden major quarter-final

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Greek Maria Sakkari bundled American fourth seed Sofia Kenin out of the French Open on Monday with a 6-1 6-3 thrashing to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

Sakkari, 25, had lost her two previous fourth-round appearances in Grand Slams and came into Monday’s clash having lost twice in majors to 2020 Australian Open winner Kenin.

But the Greek, who won their last meeting in Abu Dhabi this year, raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set as Kenin, the highest women’s seed left in the tournament, served two double faults in each of her two service games.

“I was stuck in the third round a lot of times, and that was an obstacle that I wanted to just kind of like break that curse and make it to the fourth round,” Sakkari told reporters.

“Now I’m excited to be in the quarter-finals for the first time. I knew it was going to come. I didn’t know when. But I think that I’ve been playing very good tennis, especially this year.”

A wasteful Kenin, last year’s finalist at Roland Garros, managed to hold just two service games and cut a frustrated figure on Suzanne Lenglen court, constantly muttering to herself but failing to solve her problems.

She was the highest-seeded player surviving in the women’s draw after injured world number one Ash Barty’s retirement, second seed Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal due to mental health issues and third seed Aryna Sabalenka’s defeat.

But Kenin, who played with taping on her left thigh, failed to turn up,serving nine double faults and making 32 unforced errors – the last when she sent a shot long on the second match point.

“I’m obviously disappointed today. It’s definitely not the match that I wanted to play. I feel like nerves got the better of me,” Kenin told reporters.

Sakkari’s progress to the quarter-finals along with Stefanos Tsitsipas made it the first time a Greek woman and a Greek man have made the last eight at the same major.

The 17th seed will meet either Polish defending champion Iga Swiatek or unseeded world No. 81 Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine for a place in the semis.

REUTERS