It was a strong vengeance for Sakkari, who had not beaten Kasatkina in four previous matches, including a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Madrid in the second round last month. However, the pair had never played on grass before and the 26-year-old used the slick surface to his advantage to enhance his offensive strategy.
Trying to take control of each rally as quickly as possible, Sakkari had a chance to finish the points on his forehand or the net. As a result, she raised the 27 winners to just seven for Kasatkina, while keeping her unforced error count low to 16, compared to Kasatkina’s 11.
Appropriately, the result puts the Greek in his first career semifinal on the grass. It is also their fourth WTA Tour semi-final of 2022 so far, and their first since reaching the Indian Wells final in March. Sakkari will next take on number 8 Belinda Bencic or Veronika Kudermetova.
Sakkari’s fourteen winners came during the almost flawless opening set. She saved both her breakpoints and also prevented Kasatkina from reaching game points to hold any of her service games.
No. 12 Kasatkina found her aggressive forehand late in the second set and struggled to equalize with two break downs. But with the set set to 3-3, Sakkari held firm. Getting the biggest returns when he needed them, Sakkari came through four deuce again to break for 4-3.
It was a similar story as Kasatkina worked to stay in the match. The Roland Garros semifinalist’s delivery faltered again, bringing his total to five with two double faults in the game. The last of them brought up a third match point for Sakkari, which was converted as a deep comeback, receiving a forehand error from Kasatkina.
“The first set was perfect. I was very disciplined with my shot selection and with my game in general. I always struggled to play against him, obviously, but today I was very decisive. I made up my mind I had taken what to do and I just went for it,” Sakkari said after the 72-minute win.
“The grass court fits my game – of course because I’ve improved my serve, but I’m a very good mover and it plays a huge role on this surface,” he said.
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