Greece’s Maria Sakkari on Friday delivered one of the biggest upsets of her career at the Silicon Valley Classic, ousting former seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in a straight-sets shocker.
The 23-year-old Sakkari saved two set points in the second set en route to a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) victory over the former world No. 1, punching her ticket to the semi-finals in San Jose, California, where she was to face another unseeded player, Danielle Collins.
World No. 49 Sakkari needed 1 hour, 43 minutes to dispatch Williams, as she has rolled through her first three matches at the event without dropping a set.
Sakkari converted six of her eight break points and hammered 21 winners, three more than the 38-year-old Williams.
“I was ready for the match, compared to the last times I played against her. I was ready for a battle and ready to play against Venus Williams,” Sakkari said.
Williams, who has won the event in 2000 and 2002, made a whopping 43 unforced errors.
Venus’ defeat follows the shocking upset three days earlier of her sister, Serena, who suffered the most lopsided loss of her career: 6-1, 6-0 to Johanna Konta in the first round.
Between the two of them, the Williams sisters committed 68 unforced errors in their elimination games.
American Collins moved into the semi-finals after her opponent, former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, retired midway through the second set due to a back injury.
Fourth seed Elise Mertens ended the giant-killing run of Konta to set up the other semi-final clash with fifth seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Belgium’s Mertens emerged from a tight match with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Konta.
Mertens broke Konta at love when she served for the opening set and saved two set points before forcing the tiebreaker.
After dropping her serve in the opening game of the second, Mertens won four games in a row and would not trail again.
“I just played point-by-point, because anything can happen,” Mertens said. “I believed in myself, because it was just one break and I was really happy that I took the first set.”
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