Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari were both victorious in their first-round matches, on what would prove to be a historic night for Greek tennis at the US Open.
Maria Sakkari, currently at a career-high ranking of 30 in the world, is seeded at a major for the first time in her career. She took on American wildcard Asia Muhammad, the world number 216, in the first round. Despite being down 2-3 early on, the Greek rallied back to take the first set 6-3. In the second set, Muhammad would go up an early break for a 0-1 lead. Nevertheless, Sakkari would break back immediately, and eventually win the match 6-3 6-3. Sakkari was very strong on serve, hitting six aces throughout the match.
Sakkari will now face American Sofia Kenin in the second round. Kenin won the only previous meeting between the two, at this year’s Wimbledon. Both players will be looking to make the third round of the US Open for the second time in their careers, as both had previously done so last year for the first time. The winner of that match will likely face Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, the world number eight and 2016 runner-up.
At the same time, world number 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas was also in action. He faced Spanish qualifier Tommy Robredo, a former world number five who is currently ranked 214. One break of serve was all Tsitsipas would need in the first set, which he took by a score of 6-3. In the second set, Tsitsipas saved two set points while serving down 4-5 to level the match at 5-5. He would ultimately take the set in a tiebreak, with the tiebreak score being 7-1. Despite falling down 0-2 in the third set, the Greek would come from behind to take it 6-4, much to the delight of the pro-Greek New York City crowd.
Tsitsipas’ next opponent will be Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev won their only previous meeting in three sets, earlier this season in Miami. Medvedev just won the title last week in Winston-Salem, and is currently riding on a seven-match winning streak without losing a set. The winner will advance to the third round to play either 20th seeded Borna Coric of Croatia or Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.
For the first time ever, two Greek players advanced to the second round of the US Open in the same year. Both players will play their second round matches on Wednesday. Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis will play his opening round match against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny on Tuesday.
By Andrew Stamas
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