Nerves were tense in Maria Sakkari's second match at the Australian Open with the Greek tennis player finally advancing to the third round after her 2-1 win over Russian Diana Shnaider.
At one point, in fact, the celebration of the 18-year-old Russian after a crucial point caused a strong reaction, with Sakkari addressing the umpire.
"One more time, and I will speak with the referee," the clearly irritated Sakkari can be heard saying.
Watch the video:
Sakkari FUMES over her opponent’s celebrations... 🤬🤬🤬
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 18, 2023
Sakkari referred to the behaviour of her opponent and her statements after the end of the match pointing out that after her observation Snyder stopped celebrating in this way.
"The way some players celebrate is not appropriate. I did not like it. She didn't do it again, though, and that was nice on her part," said Sakkari.
The Greek sixth-seed narrowly avoided the biggest upset of the year’s opening Grand Slam so far by eventually coming through 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.
Shnaider, an 18-year-old qualifier from Russia who studies at North Carolina State, pushed Sakkari all the way in a 2hr 33min examination on Margaret Court Arena.
“It was extremely tough. There were moments in the match where I thought I was gonna lose, but then my belief somehow woke me up,” the Greek tennis star told reporters.
The hard-hitting Shnaider broke Sakkari’s opening serve and showed huge guts to save three break-back points and secure the opening set in 48 minutes on her fifth set point.
“I would say that in the first set I felt that (I would lose), because I could not feel my game,” Sakkari said.
“I was very defensive. I haven’t been feeling like that in a long time. But then I think because I have worked a lot of hours I was able to find a way.”
Sakkari, one of the pre-tournament favourites, got back on track at the start of the second set, breaking Shnaider’s opening service game and opening a 3-0 lead.
But again Shnaider fought back, saving four set points before the Greek took it to a decider.