Maria Sakkari through to St. Petersburg semi-final



Greece’s Maria Sakkari upset Swiss world number five Belinda Bencic 2-6 6-4 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the 2020 St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy in Russia.

Coming into the match, the two had only played each other once before, at the 2019 Hopman Cup. Sakkari won that match in straight sets, though it is not included in the official head-to-head record.

Bencic dominated the first set, taking it 6-2. She then went up an early break in the second set, but Sakkari fought back to take it 6-4 and force a decisive third set. There, Bencic went up an early break, but the Greek once again came back. Sakkari won the set 6-3 to book her spot in the semifinals.

Sakkari has now reached the semifinals of a WTA tournament for the eighth time in her career, the fifth time at a Premier-level event, the first time at an indoor event, and this is also her first semifinal since August. Additionally, this win over Bencic marks the third time in Sakkari’s career that she has defeated a top-five opponent.

Earlier in the week, Sakkari beat Russian qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko (world number 89) 3-6 6-4 7-6(3) in the first round, saving a match point in the third set. She then beat French qualifier Alize Cornet (world number 61) 6-2 6-4, in the second round.

Sakkari seeded sixth here, will take on eighth-seeded Elena Rybakina (world number 25) of Kazakhstan in the semifinals. The Greek is currently ranked at a career-high of 21 in the world and will move up to 19 with a win over Rybakina. Should Sakkari win the tournament in St. Petersburg, she would rise to number 18 in the next WTA rankings.

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*Image courtesy of Tennis Now

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