World number 23 Maria Sakkari of Greece beat Japanese qualifier Nao Hibino 7-6 6-4 in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open.
Sakkari had previously never played against Hibino, the world number 103. The Greek raced out to a 5-2 lead in the first set, but Hibino fought back to level the score at 5-5. The set ultimately went to a tiebreak, as Sakkari was unable to convert on any of her three set points. Sakkari then won the tiebreak 7-4 to take the opening set.
In the second set, the Greek went up 2-0, but Hibino then won the next three games to go up 3-2 herself. Sakkari would ultimately break to go up 5-4, and then serve the match out in the subsequent game to take the match 7-6 6-4.
Sakkari has now advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the third time in her career, after previously doing so in both 2017 and 2019. She will now face either world number 11 Madison Keys of the United States, or world number 93 Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands. Sakkari won her only previous meeting against Rus, and has never played against Keys.
While world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the third round of the Australian Open without having to play, as Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to injury.
The 36-year-old German, currently ranked 79 in the world, pulled out of the tournament due to injury. Tsitsipas had been looking to improve his head-to-head record to 3-0 against Kohlschreiber, after winning both of their previous meetings back in 2018.
The Greek will now compete in the third round on Friday against either world number 35 Milos Raonic of Canada, or world number 36 Cristian Garin of Chile.
Tsitsipas has never played against Raonic before. It should be noted that the Canadian is a former world number three, and was a quarterfinalist here last year, while also reaching the semifinals in Melbourne back in 2016.
On the other hand, Tsitsipas and Garin have met once before, with Garin winning in straight sets two years ago at a challenger tournament. The Chilean has never advanced past the second round at any Grand Slam tournament.
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