The 9th seed gets a confidence-boosting victory over the Spaniard at home, winning, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals in Madrid.
The World No.9 dropped a poised and polished 6-4, 6-4 defeat on Paula Badosa, ending hopes of a Mutua Madrid Open title for the country’s highest-ranked woman.
Sakkari will face Irina-Camelia Begu in a quarterfinal match. Begu has lost two of three previous matches to Sakkari, most recently in the St. Petersburg three-set semifinals last year.
This is Sakkari’s first quarterfinal appearance in Madrid, but the 10th of her career on clay.
The match sailed along on serve until the seventh game, when Sakkari exerted herself and broke Badosa’s serve -- at love. That margin held up the rest of the set and Sakkari converted her second set point to take the first set.
The 27-year-old from Greece opened the second with another service break and maintained that advantage the rest of the way. On Match point, a frustrated Badosa hit a forehand about 10 meters long.
Reduced to simple terms, Sakkari forged three break points and converted two of them; Badosa was 0-for-3.
A year ago, Badosa arrived in Madrid as the No.2-ranked player -- and promptly lost her second match to Simona Halep. This year, she came in at No.42 (and the No.26 seed) and said she was managing the wild expectations from fans and media much better.