No.6 seed Maria Sakkari has warned her rival and the chair umpire she won't allow her opponent to celebrate in her face during a fiery round 2 encounter at the Australian Open. Russian player Diana Shnaider stunned the No.6 seed to take the first set on John Cain Arena with a display of ruthless power hitting.
Sakkari was clearly rattled and was staring down the barrel of an early exit in Melbourne with scores sitting at 5-5 in the second. However, Shnaider appeared to light a fire inside of Sakkari as one of her celebrations irked the 27-year-old.
"If she screams one more time in my face, I'm going to call the referee," Sakkari said with her finger pointed. Sakkari wasn't taking no for an answer as she approached the chair umpire to get her point across.
Her rival's alleged actions only seemed to strengthen the 27-year-old Greek as she took the next two games to level the match.
The No.6 seed was showing all her passion on the court after missing a chance to break in the third set and repeatedly slamming her racquet into her boot.
Sakkari was pushed all the way, but her experience showed after closing out the deciding set 6-3 to advance to the third round.
Maria Sakkari advances in Aus Open battle
Shnaider is a member of the women's team at North Carolina State, the same university that produced Michael Jordan, and the 18-year-old at times bossed Sakkari round the court like the basketball legend did to his rivals for so many years.
"It was a very high level from both of us. She played an amazing match. She's very young, very promising, Maybe she should look at not going to college," Sakkari said.
"She had me running behind the baseline chasing balls and that's not usually my game. But I tried to find solutions. It's very difficult to play someone you have never played before, seen before on tour."
In-form American Jessica Pegula advanced to the third round not long after Sakkari with a strong performance against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
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