Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open saw Maria Sakkari knock out the last home player in the WTA competition. The Greek defeated Paula Badosa in a Manolo Santana Stadium that was unable to provide their player with the lift she required (6-4, 6-4), in one hour and 28 minutes.
“I knew it was going to be very tough because she was playing at home, and as I said on the court, she has been playing very good tennis lately. She’s finding her way back”, she said of the atmosphere in the match shortly after it was over.
The ninth seed delivered on her superior ranking to produce her best run in the Caja Mágica, now with a place in the quarter-finals. With 22 winners and five aces in the match, Sakkari managed to break the momentum of a Badosa who was in with a chance of repeating the semi-final run she enjoyed in the Spanish capital in 2021.
“Obviously first time that I’m actually going, you know, deeper, let’s say, than any other year. I do believe, though, that these conditions are great for my game, because the ball is flying, the ball is bouncing high. My ball is heavy, so it can do a lot of damage on this court”, she remembered.
The Athens native has now claimed 18 wins, compared with eight defeats, this year on tour and is looking to match the semi-final she reached at the WTA 1000 in Indian Wells.
Sakkari will now clash with Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, who beat Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 6-4 earlier today. The Greek has come out on top of their last two meetings of a total of three, the most recent came last season in the semi-finals in St Petersburg and, judging by the result (6-4, 6-7, 6-4), their encounter on the clay of Madrid is sure to be a thriller.
“Begu a very tough and tricky player. She’s very solid, like she barely makes any mistakes. Last time I played her was in St. Petersburg, and we had a battle. I just have to, you know, stick to my game and try and be aggressive, because that’s with everyone. That’s what I’m gonna try and do tomorrow”, she concluded when asked how she will be preparing for her next challenge.