25-year-old tennis player Maria Sakkari made history as she defeated the mighty American Sofia Kenin to became the first Greek to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam.
Team Greece is living its great moments in Paris at this year’s French Open Roland Garros after Stefanos Tsitsipas, who on Sunday also qualified for the quarterfinals.
The Greek defeated Sofia Kenin with 2 sets to zero (6-1 and 6-3) and became the first Greek woman to qualify for the Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Kenin is No. 5 in the world rankings and last year was a finalist in the French Open.
Sakkari was impressive in the first set and defeated Kenin 6-1 while in the second set, although she got a little nervous at the end at 5-1, she won the set 6-3.
The Greek tennis player finished the match with 19 winners and 15 effortless mistakes.
“I am speechless. It’s one of my favorite tournaments. I love Paris. I am having a great time. I do not want to leave. I will try to stay until the end,” she said.
Today I was ready for a battle – I came, I played and I won,” Sakkari added.
Sakkari admitted after the match that things were different for her. Finding herself stressed before going on Court Suzanne-Lenglen she gave herself the perfect pep talk.
“Just have fun,” she told herself.
“I was stressed before the match,” she said. “I was nervous because it’s a tennis match, so I want to win. But then on the other hand, I told myself, just go out there and enjoy. I know it sounds very calm and easy thing to do, but that’s actually one of the few times I’ve told myself to enjoy a match. ”
The world No.18 cracked 19 winners against 15 unforced errors and won 84 per cent of her first-serve points. When faced with a pushback from Kenin, who saved a match point on serve at 1-5 in the second set then broke to close to 3-5, Sakkari ratcheted up her intensity and broke for the fourth time to lock up the milestone.
“I just trusted my game and I went for it, and it worked,” she concluded.
Now, she is waiting for the winner of the match between 19-year-old Pole, Iga Świątek (last year’s champion) and 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostiuk.
READ MORE: Tsitsipas through to French Open Quarter Final.