Maria Sakkari's 'awful' drama at US Open stuns tennis world

·5-min read
Maria Sakkari's poor run at the grand slams in 2022 continued at the US Open. Pic: SportsCenter/Getty
Maria Sakkari's poor run at the grand slams in 2022 continued at the US Open. Pic: SportsCenter/Getty

Maria Sakkari has become the biggest casualty to fall in the women's draw at the US Open, after the World No.3 was stunned by unseeded Chinese Wang Xiyu in New York.

The third seed went down 3-6 7-5 7-5 to her unfancied Chinese opponent in an absorbing second-round contest that Sakkari was expected to win.

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The 27-year-old was a semi-finalist in New York last year, and would have been hoping to go on a similar run to the later stages of the tournament in 2022.

Sakkari started strongly and marched into a one-set lead before being let down by a series of unforced errors as the match gradually slipped away from her.

Despite Sakkari's superior experience, World No.75 Wang's heavy hitting from the baseline came to the fore in the second set as she took a 5-3 lead before clinching it following a double fault from Sakkari.

Both players matched each other in the decider but it was Wang who raised her game in the key moments, breaking Sakkari at 6-5 to take the win and reach the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

The win was Wang's first career victory over a top-10 player.

Sakkari's defeat capped a difficult couple of days for Greek tennis following the shock first-round exit of men's fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas at the hands of Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan.

The shock result for Sakkari completes an underwhelming year for the Greek in majors, with her fourth round appearance at the Australian Open the furthest the 27-year-old has gone in grand slams in 2022.

Sakkari was also bundled out in the second round at the French Open, while making it to the third at Wimbledon.

Andy Murray marches on to the third round

On the men's side, Andy Murray survived an early scare to beat American wildcard Emilio Nava 5-7 6-3 6-1 6-0, moving into the third round of a grand slam for only the second time in five years.

Nava, the world No.203 who had knocked out Australian John Millman in the first round, showed he belonged further up the ladder with his confident shot-making on Wednesday, winning the big points to take a gruelling first set in 84 minutes.

Ten years since he won his maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows, Murray struggled with his first serve but, always happy to graft in slams, broke the inexperienced Nava twice in the second set to level the match after the American made several unforced errors.

Seen here, Andy Murray celebrating his win over American Emilio Nava in the second round of the US Open.
Andy Murray celebrates his win over American Emilio Nava in the second round of the US Open. Pic: Getty

That fuelled the former world No.1 as he suddenly found his range on serve, tearing through the third set as Nava failed to sustain his levels from the opener and began to fade, giving the resolute Scot the advantage.

With Nava on the ropes, Murray was ruthless with two early breaks to go 4-0 up.

Nava nearly got on the board in the fifth game but the 35-year-old Murray stood firm to break again before serving out the set.

"Physically this is the best I've felt in years... I'm getting closer to where I want to be. Hopefully I can have a deep run here," the remarkable Murray, who's playing with an artificial hip, said.

Murray will next meet 13th seed Matteo Berrettini after last year's Wimbledon finalist beat Hugo Grenier 2-6 6-1 7-6 7-6.

Meanwhile, Australia's Alex de Minaur avenged his fourth round defeat to Cristian Garin at Wimbledon by beating the Chilean 6-3 6-0 4-6 6-2 in their second round match.

The brutal victory sees de Minaur power into the last 32 at Flushing Meadows for the fourth time in five visits.

with AAP

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