Maria Sakkari of Greece rallied from a set and a break down to defeat a fatigued Serena Williams 5-7 7-6(5) 6-1 in the third round of the Western & Southern Open.
In the previous round against Arantxa Rus, the third-seeded Williams showed poor movement and low energy level but managed to squeeze past the Dutch despite being two points from defeat. In Tuesday’s third round, Williams served for the match in the second set, but when the 13th-seeded Sakkari forced the decider, Williams’ chances were diminished by tiredness and cramps.
Williams opened the match with a 5-2 lead and even though the world No.21 Sakkari managed to draw level, the American raised her game to win the first set. From 3-1 down in the second set, Williams won four games in a row to find herself serving for victory, but that’s when things started falling apart for the tennis legend. After dragging the second set to a tiebreak and leveling the match at 1-1, Sakkari rolled through the third set and closed it out on her eighth match point.
Sakkari’s quarterfinal opponent will be Briton Johanna Konta, seeded eighth, who eased past qualifier Vera Zvonareva 6-4 6-2.