Indian Wells: Sakkari rallies past Kvitova to return to semifinal

The No.7 seed Greek player Maria Sakkari Maria Sakkari rallied from a set and a break down to defeat 15th seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and advance to her second straight semifinal of the Indian Wells Masters, here.

The No.7 seed Greek player Maria Sakkari rallied from a set and a break down to defeat 15th seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and advance to her second straight semifinal of the Indian Wells Masters, here.

The victory was Sakkari’s fourth consecutive three-set win in Indian Wells, with three of those wins coming from a set down. She is now the joint leader in three-set wins on tour this season, tying Anastasia Potapova with seven.

“Not only was I down a set and a break, but she made me play like an amateur in the first set. She was playing so well. I had to try and focus on different things, I had to try and look at the other side of the net to see what I could do to put her in uncomfortable positions and I think it worked. I just tried to play physical — all I can say is I need a pedicure because my feet are bleeding so badly,” said Sakkari after the match.

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The Greek sets up a clash with No.2-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who advanced to her third semifinal of the season by losing just four games to Coco Gauff, in Friday’s semifinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Sabalenka owns a narrow 4-3 lead in the head-to-head but Sakkari has won their last two meetings. Both wins came at the last two editions of the WTA Finals.

“I think she’s a different player than when I played her the last time,” Sakkari said about his semifinal clash with Australian Open champion Sabalenka.

“She just won a Grand Slam, she’s so confident. I watched a little bit of her match today and she was hitting so big. It’s going to be tough, another big hitter, like today. All I can do is try to find solutions. All I can say is my mentality is very good and I’m here to stay until the end,” she added.

The 27-year-old Greek is bidding to become the first player to make back-to-back finals at Indian Wells since Maria Sharapova in 2013. Defending champion Iga Swiatek, who is set to play her quarterfinal on Thursday, can also match Sharapova’s feat.

Also Read: Indian Wells: Medvedev battles ankle injury to move into semis

-IANS

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