On at 06:35 CEST
. / Flushing Meadows
Maria sakkari made history this Wednesday by being the first Greek to reach the semi-finals of women’s singles at the US Open after winning the quarterfinals by 6-4 and 6-4 to the Czech Karolina Pliskova, fourth seeded. Seventeenth-seeded Sakkari reached her second Grand Slam semi-final of the year after also doing it at the French Open. The 26-year-old Greek tennis player never made it past the fourth round in 20 major tournament appearances until reaching the final four at the French Open last June. Now 26, she has equaled that spectacle and has become the first Greek woman to make it this far in Flushing Meadows.
Sakkari never faced a break point on Wednesday night and finished with almost twice as many winners, 23, as unforced errors, 12. The Greek tennis player had also eliminated sixth-seed Canadian Bianca Andreescu in the fourth-round match. , and Open champion in 2019.
Sakkari will face Britain’s Emma Raducanu, 18, on Thursday for a spot in the final after the Englishwoman upset Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist 11th-seeded Swiss Belinda Bencic 6- 3 and 6-4 in the first quarterfinal game.
Pliskova is a former number one and two-time runner-up in Grand Slam tournaments, including the one at Wimbledon, last July, she never could with Sakkari’s best tennis from the back of the court and ended the match, which lasted one hour and 22 minutes. , with 14 winners for 20 unforced errors he made. She made just three goals in six raises to the net for 11 of 12, respectively, by Sakkari, who was near perfect when she decided to attack.
The other semifinal will be played by Canadian Leilah Fernández, 19 years old and 73 in the world, who will face the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, second favorite.
Golden Slam in a wheelchair
The attention in the tournament is on the Serbian Novak Djokovic in his fight to complete four Grand Slam in the same year, but there are also two stars in the wheelchair competition, the australian Dylan alcott, and the Dutch Diede de groot, with the same opportunity and both with Olympic gold medals in their possession. An achievement that Djokovic will not be able to achieve after being eliminated in the semifinals at Tokyo 2020 by German Alexander Zverev, who won the gold medal.
After having competed until last weekend in Tokyo 2020, both Alcott and De Groot say that they arrived at Flushing Meadows with the illusion of playing, but without thinking that they can win everything. “If I win it all, amazing. If I don’t, tomorrow the sun will rise. I think my girlfriend will still love me, my family will not disown me, so I’ll be fine. I want to do it, but I don’t think about it much,” Alcott stated. , who is the seeded number, in the individual men’s wheelchair competition “squad” (affected by an impairment affecting three or more members).
Your biggest challenge might be fatigue. The Paralympic Games just ended the weekend before players had to head to New York. “Saturday was the gold medal game. Then I drank about 20 beers and then took a flight at 6 on Sunday morning,” Alcott said. “You have to celebrate.” We won a fucking gold medal. “
Steffi graf in 1988 she is the only player who won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open and a gold medal in the same year. A Golden Slam wasn’t even a possibility for wheelchair players until recently, as Wimbledon didn’t add wheelchair singles until 2016. “I think it’s more of a thing that the media and the people around me with. They’re really busy and I’m just trying to focus on my game, “admitted De Groot.
Djokovic still has a chance to achieve the first Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969, but his Golden Slam hopes ended in Tokyo. Alcott and De Groot say they wanted Djokovic to do it, but they learned something when he didn’t. “I think by following him, you could also see his struggle, see how he’s just a human and how he’s not a robot,” De Groot noted. “And I think his performance just showed that it’s not a given that you keep winning and I think I really took it to my own games.”
Alcott has arrived in New York with the opportunity to participate in a Grand Slam, but he fell short. Watching Djokovic fall in Tokyo was another reminder not to look too far ahead. “I watched him lose and thought to myself, maybe he was thinking about that and that pressure could have increased,” Alcott admitted. “So I said, ‘I’m not going to think about that.’ Alcott is nearing the end of a stellar sports career. Born with a tumor wrapped around his spinal cord, surgery removed him but left him a quadriplegic. The 30-year-old won a Paralympic gold medal in basketball in 2008 before switching to tennis.
In addition to the radio and television work she already does, she wants to pursue acting and dedicate more time to her Dylan Alcott Foundation, which helps young Australians with disabilities. “So I love tennis, but it’s not the end of my life,” Alcott admitted.
De Groot, 24, whose right leg is shorter than her left, already made wheelchair history in 2019 when she became the first female player to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time. Where the Paralympic Games had always been the priority, he said Grand Slam tournaments are growing in importance for wheelchair players. Now he could do something none of them have done. “For me, right now, playing any tournament is much better than last year, where everything was canceled“He recalled.” So I think right now I just enjoy everything, like never before.