Gauff Loses Dramatic Contest To Sakkari Despite Saving Three Match Points

Gauff Loses Dramatic Contest To Sakkari Despite Saving Three Match Points

by Jordan Reynolds

Coco Gauff's hunt for a first WTA 1000 title in 2024 continues after Maria Sakkari stunningly defeated the US Open champion at the Indian Wells Open.

Despite reaching the semifinal, the 20 year old had created headlines for an unwanted reason. This was due to Gauff hitting 17 double faults in her previous match, although she still won in straight sets.

Gauff discussed serving these double faults in an honest interview after the match, where she also said she was happy with where the rest of her game was at and that the serving was the main issue.

The American's opponent recently made a big change to her coaching team. Sakkari started working with Jessica Pegula's long-term coach David Witt, in a move which surprised many.

The Greek player has often been seen as not having the mentality to win big matches. But she answered those critics loudly and clearly to triumph spectacularly against the home favourite, despite Gauff showing some amazing fighting spirit.

Sakkari overcame a rain delay to win the first set. Both players produced some excellent tennis in the opening eight games until the disruption came, with the score locked at 4-4.

The match then continued briefly before a second rain delay, but Sakkari managed to claim the opening set in that time. A series of forehand errors from Gauff saw Sakkari take the opener 6-4.

Eventually, the heavy rain stopped and the match was completed. Gauff had said she was feeling unwell after the first set before the delay and initially it seemed like the American was going to get comfortably beaten in the second set.

Sakkari continued to get joy going to her opponent's forehand, which routinely cracked under extended pressure. A confident Sakkari got two breaks of serve and had two chances to serve for the match a 5-2.

However, the drama was not done on Court 1. The fans who waited so patiently in the rain witnessed Gauff break back and then hold, before the two played an incredible ninth game.

Sakkari saved two break points, before then holding three match points on her serve. But Gauff is a fighter, and she dug in to save all three match points against her visibly nervous opponent and then broke again for 5-5.

A tiebreak was needed to decided the set and Gauff was the stronger player. Despite Sakkari saving three set points of her own at 6-2, the 20 year old converted the fourth to take the match to a decider.

Gauff then broke in the first game of the third set. Many will have expected Sakkari to break after that. But the opposite happened. The 28 year old regained her composure to play a truly outstanding third set after that.

Admittedly, Gauff's level did drop slightly but nothing should be taken away from Sakkari. She found the depth on her groundstrokes again and turned the odds in her favour with some terrific tennis.

Sakkari won six out of the last seven games to seal a 6-4 6-7 6-2 triumph. She will start as the underdog against Iga Swiatek in the final, but this win was a huge mental test that Sakkari overcame.


You may also like