Sakkari, Sabalenka enter Abu Dhabi Open semis

Team KT/Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 11, 2021
Maria Sakkari on her way to victory against Sofia Kenin. — Twitter

The Greek player after losing the first set turned the tables on Kenin by hitting nine aces against none from the American

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was ousted from the Abu Dhabi Open in the quarterfinals on Monday after a three-set (2-6, 6-2, 6-0) defeat to Maria Sakkari.

The Greek player after losing the first set turned the tables on Kenin by hitting nine aces against none from the American.

Sakkari will face Aryna Sabalenka next, who made it 13 tour wins in a row by beating Elena Rybakina 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 for a place in the semifinals.

“Beating these players this week it means a lot,” Sakkari told the press, after her win. “I’m playing players that I’ve never played, like (Muguruza) yesterday, so I have a better idea if I play them again. So in general it gives me a lot of confidence starting the year like that and I’m super happy to travel to Australia with some good matches with me.”

Meanwhile, Sabalenka extended her career-best winning streak to 13 matches.

“I knew that she was going to play really fast and deep and I have to stay lower so I prepare myself for these shots,” Sabalenka said after the match.

“I knew that it’s going to be like this because she’s playing really free and sometimes you don’t have time to prepare for the shots and she’s making a lot of winners. That’s what happens against these times of players. Everything can change really quick. You have to wait for your opportunity because these kinds of players cannot play all the time at this level. It will drop a little bit and I have to be ready for this moment.

“Even when she’s playing well I need to try to do something against her, show her that I will fight no matter what and give her an extra ball to hit. That’s tough but I knew it was going to happen and that’s why I adjust really well today.”

Earlier, Marta Kostyuk edged past Sara Sorribes Tormo 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 to earn a berth in the last four.

Kostyuk has moved on from the pressure and expectation-filled last three years of her career and her results at the first event of the season, where she has advanced to her first WTA 500 quarterfinal.

“That was a really tough time in my life. I was really at my lowest. I had to go through depression, never talked about it. “I used to have that pressure because there were a lot of girls who achieved big things before me,” Kostyuk told reporters.

Unseeded Veronika Kudermetova shocked No.2 seed Elina Svitolina 5-7 6-3 7-6(3) in a thriller to claim the place in the semifinals. The World No.46 extended her head-to-head rivalry lead over Svitolina, having now upset the World No.5 in both of their two meetings.

With inputs from WTA

Results (x denotes seeded player):


Maria Sakkari (GRE x9) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x1) 2-6, 6-2, 6-0

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x4) bt Elena Rybakina (KAZ x6) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Marta Kostyuk (UKR) bt Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 0-6, 6-1, 6-4

Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x2) 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)

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