Bianca Andreescu battles back from a set down to stun Maria Sakkari

Bianca Andreescu battles back from a set down to stun Maria Sakkari

by Tom Grant

Last last updated

Bianca Andreescu reached the last-16 of the Miami Open after she shocked Maria Sakkari in a fun match on the stadium court.

The Canadian star needed to come back from a set down to overcome Greece's Sakkari 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in over three hours of tennis. The Canadian had turned up to play and showed the type of form that had her as high as World No.4 after she won the 2019 US Open. The pair shared a 1-1 record going into the match, including a semi-final here in Miami in 2021, which Andreescu won in a deciding set tie-break.

Their only other meeting was the same year at the US Open, Sakkari getting her revenge in three, meaning their was every chance this one would go the distance just as their previous contests had done.

The match was a tight affair throughout, and started as it meant to go on with both players serving well to reach 3-3 without a break point faced by either. And just when those inside the Hard Rock Stadium thought this one would only be decided by a tie-break, Sakkari made her move, breaking the Andreescu resolve to 15.

Four of Sakkari's five matches at Indian Wells the previous week had been three-set slogs, and there was a glimpse as to why when Sakkari was broken back in the very next game, a tussle that was decided by the Canadian player after four deuce points - but on her very first break point. Andreescu did what Sakkari couldn't by fending off break points in the next game to lead 5-4, but that was the be as good as it got for the girl from Ontario as Sakkari raced back and broke to take a competitive first set.

Andreescu had impressed during her win over Emma Raducanu on Wednesday and there were hopes that she could rekindle some form in Florida this week. And she showed her character by breaking the No.7 seed's serve early to lead 3-1. Service holds were then shared including in game seven, a 10-minute fight that Andreescu eventually won.

But that was as close as Sakkari got as an amazing Andreescu get from a Greek volley sent the ball deep into the court and the match was levelled up at a set a piece.

It was anybody's match now and the pair swapped early breaks in the third to highlight just how evenly matched the two players were. An unstoppable backhand return winner allowed Andreescu to break again, the third consecutive break of the deciding set. An astonishing run of games found Andreescu 4-2 up with five of those games being breaks of serve.

After some much-needed holds of serve World No.31 Andreescu stood at the far end baseline serving for the match, in what had become a match full of momentum changes. Two match points passed her by as Sakkari threatened to come back from being a double-break down in the decider with a break point of her own. But the Canadian announced herself back in the big time as she secured her biggest win of the year with the comeback victory.


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