Tennis history re-written in 'ridiculous' 140-year first at US Open

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Maria Sakkari, pictured here after becoming the first Greek player into the semi-finals at the US Open.
Maria Sakkari is the first Greek player into the semi-finals at the US Open. Image: Getty

Maria Sakkari has become the first Greek player to reach the semi-finals at the US Open, brushing aside Karolina Pliskova in straight sets on Wednesday.

Sakkari advanced to her second grand slam semi-final of the year after beating fourth-seed Pliskova 6-4, 6-4.

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The 17th-seed had never made it past the fourth round in 20 appearances at major tournaments until getting to the final four at the French Open in June.

She's now equalled that showing and become the first Greek player to make it this far in the US Open's 140-year history

Sakkari never faced a break point in the 81-minute performance on Arthur Ashe Stadium, hitting nearly twice as many winners (23) as unforced errors (12).

She was rock-solid with excellent serving and court coverage as Pliskova struggled to keep up.

At one stage the 26-year-old won 22 consecutive points on serve and required a lone break in each set against the biggest server in women's tennis.

"I'm impressed," Sakkari said with a smile during her on-court interview when she was informed of that serving streak.

"I trusted my serve, but now I'm going to trust it even more."

Sakkari eliminated 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the previous round.

Sakkari and Raducanu in US Open semi-final showdown

Sakkari will now face 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu on Thursday for a berth in the championship match.

Raducanu continued her Flushing Meadows fairytale earlier on Wednesday, producing yet another electrifying performance to become the first qualifier ever to reach the US Open semis.

The fearless 18-year-old defeated Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4 on Arthur Ashe Stadium to join her fellow teenager, Canadian Leylah Fernandez, in the last four.

Raducanu reached the Wimbledon fourth round on her grand slam debut just two months ago and has so far won all 16 sets she has played from qualifying all the way through to the semi-finals in New York.

Maria Sakkari, pictured here after defeating Karolina Pliskova in the US Open quarter-finals.
Maria Sakkari reacts after defeating Karolina Pliskova in the US Open quarter-finals. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

"To have so many young players here doing so well just shows how strong the next generation is," said Raducanu, who delighted young fans by taking selfies with them before she walked off court.

"Everyone is on their trajectory. I'm just here taking care of what I can control."

Raducanu has shown no signs of fatigue while demolishing opponent after opponent, and believes the extra matches helped her.

"They were very good for me to adjust to the hard courts, because it's completely different to the grass. You get away with a lot less," said the Briton, who was born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father.

"After four weeks, I think that building up the levels at the tournaments, my game got better. With each higher level tournament I played, I had to raise my game."

with AAP

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