Sakkari Makes Winning Switch To Grass With Early Nottingham Win

Sakkari Makes Winning Switch To Grass With Early Nottingham Win

by Zachary Wimer

Maria Sakkari started her 2023 Nottingham Open with a first-round win over Xiyu Wang from China.

Switching from one surface to the other is never easy for tennis players, especially, if it's a switch from the slowest surface on the WTA Tour to the fastest. Yet, when things are not going well on the red dirt, it may be the grass where the player returns to the winning ways.

And that was surely the case for Sakkari. Entering the 2023 Nottingham Open, the Greek lost in her last two matches after she was beaten by Marketa Vondrousova in Rome and then lost to another Czech player, Karolina Muchova at the Roland Garros.

In the first round of the WTA 250 grass-court tournament in Nottingham, the top seed was drawn against Xiyu Wang from China, a player that she lost to in their only meeting that happened at the 2022 US Open.

But it was the previous loss that Sakkari wanted to learn from and improve her performance against the Chinese player this time around. In the first set, that was going really well for the Greek, as she was the better player from start to finish.

On her serve, Sakkari lost two points on almost each of her service games, but the important thing was that she never gave her opponent a break point. On the other hand, Wang wasn't really good on her serve in the opener.

When it came to the second serve, she won only 30% of her points, giving Sakkari chance to win rallies. Because of that, the Greek was able to have four break points, and after using two, she own the first set 6-2.

The second set was a different story, as this time, the top seed couldn't use her chances so effectively. She had four match points, but couldn't use those before the tie-break.

Even in the tie-break, the Greek faced her opponent's set point, but eventually, she was able to close out the match, winning 6-2, 7-6(6) to advance to the second round of the 2023 Nottingham Open, awaiting Katie Swan or Alize Cornet.


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