August 3, 2019 / 4:52 AM / 3 months ago

Sakkari battles back to reach semis in San Jose

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 5, 2019 Greece's Maria Sakkari in action during her third round match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Maria Sakkari came from behind to defeat top-seeded Elina Svitolina 1-6 7-6(3) 6-3 in a thrilling quarter-final at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Friday.

Sakkari saved four match points and trailed 5-2 in the second set but found her form in time to extend her run at the tournament, where she lost the final last year.

“I don’t know where I found this power. Probably I have it deep inside. I’m a Spartan — we don’t forget that,” the Greek 24-year-old said with a smile.

“I’m super happy. I was playing very bad tennis. I was not moving, not reacting at all. I really don’t know how I managed to wake up.”

A pep talk during the match from coach Tom Hill appeared to inspire Sakkari, who lost to Svitolina in their third-round meeting at Wimbledon last month.

Sakkari will next face Amanda Anisimova or Saisai Zheng on Saturday.

In another compelling quarter-final, second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka defeated Carla Suarez Navarro in a marathon 3-6 6-2 6-4 match earlier in the day.

Sabalenka rifled a forehand winner on match point to end the nearly two-hour affair and book her ticket to the last four as she hunts for her fourth career singles title.

Next up for Sabalenka is a semi-final with Donna Vekic, who put on a serving clinic to dispatch American Kristie Ahn 7-5 6-0.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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