Maria Sakkari sets up US Open semi-final with Emma Raducanu – but Greek insists she is NOT the favourite despite being ranked 132 places higher than 18-year-old Brit!
- Maria Sakkari roared through to the US Open semi-finals early on Thursday
- The Greek ace dominated Karolina Pliskova and will face Emma Raducanu next
- Despite being 132 ranks higher than the Brit, she doesn’t feel like the favourite
- REPORT: Raducanu THROUGH to the US Open semi-finals after stunning display
Big-hitting Maria Sakkari will stand between 18-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu and a place in the US Open final after victory over Karolina Pliskova.
Pliskova, a Wimbledon finalist earlier this year, was overpowered on the Arthur Ashe stadium court and was comfortably swept aside 6-4, 6-4.
Raducanu had earlier beaten Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic to continue her fairytale run and now both her and Sakkari are one match away from their first ever Grand Slam final.
Greek star Maria Sakkari roared her way into the semi-finals of the US Open in New York
The world No 17 was overcome with emotion as she reached a second Grand Slam semi-final
Sakkari will take on British teen sensation Emma Raducanu for a spot in a first Grand Slam final
‘She’s a new player on tour so I don’t know much about her,’ Sakkari said following her win over Pliskova.
‘Obviously she’s having the tournament of her life. She deserves to be here. She has won all these matches.
‘But I wouldn’t call myself the favourite. I think we all have equal chances of winning the semi-finals and then winning the title. I would give 25 per cent to each starting tomorrow, then 50 to the two finalists.
World No 4 Karolina Pliskova had no answers to Sakkari’s power in their quarter-final match
‘We are all here for a reason. We’re all playing well. It was not like we had five walkovers. I’m excited to play a second semi-final this year.’
An emotional Sakkari dedicated her win to the people of Greece, where more than 500 wildfires forced the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people..
Sakkari hounded Pliskova into mistakes and got an early break before going on to take the first set.
The Greek maintained the aggression in the second set, converting on break point in the seventh game as 2016 runner-up Pliskova failed to match her intensity.
‘For me, winning for Greece, making Greek people proud and happy, especially in difficult times, it makes me even more happy because you know how much I love my country,’ Sakkari added.
There was plenty of respect at the net between the two players after Sakkari’s 6-4, 6-4 win
World No 4 Pliskova came up short once again at Flushing Meadows, where she has been stopped at the quarter-final stage three times since reaching the final in 2016.
‘I didn’t have any chances on her serve,’ the Czech said. ‘I don’t think I played the best tennis today.
‘I don’t think I was serving the way I was serving the last couple matches, which you have to serve against opponents like this because she doesn’t give you much for free.’
Sakkari will take on Raducanu early on Friday morning with a 2am start time for UK-based supporters.
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