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German Open: Maria Sakkari reaches semis with win over Daria Kasatkina
Berlin, June 17 - World No. 6 Maria Sakkari reached the women's singles semi-finals of the German Open after beating No. 6 seed Daria Kasatkina 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, here on Friday.
It was emphatic revenge for Sakkari, who had not beaten Kasatkina in four previous encounters, including a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss in the second round of Madrid last month. However, the pair had never played on grass before and the 26-year-old used the slick surface to her advantage to enhance her aggressive strategy.
Seeking to take control of each rally as soon as possible, Sakkari was quick to sense an opportunity to finish points with her forehand or at the net. Consequently, she tallied 27 winners to only seven for Kasatkina, while also keeping her unforced error count down to 16 compared to Kasatkina's 11.
Appropriately, the result puts the Greek into her first career semifinal on grass. It is also her fourth WTA Tour semifinal of 2022 so far, and the first since her run to the Indian Wells final in March. Sakkari will next face either No. 8 seed Belinda Bencic or Veronika Kudermetova.
Fourteen of Sakkari's winners came during a near-flawless opening set. She saved both of the breakpoints she faced and prevented Kasatkina from even reaching a game point to hold any of her service games.
The No. 12-ranked Kasatkina belatedly found her aggressive forehand in the second set and twice battled to level the score from a break down. But with the set poised at 3-3, Sakkari held firm. Finding her biggest returns when she needed them, Sakkari came through four deuces to break again for 4-3.
It was a similar story as Kasatkina served to stay in the match. The Roland Garros semifinalist's delivery faltered again, with two double faults in this game bringing her total to five. The last of those brought up a third match point for Sakkari converted as a deep return elicited a forehand error from Kasatkina.
"The first set was close to perfect. I was very disciplined with my shot selection, and with my game in general. I always struggled to play against her, obviously, but today I was very decisive. I had made up my mind what to do and I just went for it," said Sakkari after her 72-minute win.
"Grass court fits my game -- of course because I improved my serve, but I'm a very good mover and that plays a huge role on this surface," she added.
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