WTA

'I need a pedicure!' – Sakkari reaches semis with bleeding toes at Indian Wells

By Sports Desk March 16, 2023

Maria Sakkari prioritised a pedicure after earning a shot at Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka in the Indian Wells Open semi-finals.

Thursday was to be a recovery and re-setting day for Greek Sakkari, one of the stars of the Netflix 'Break Point' series, who is through to her third semi-final of the year.

She booked a last-four spot thanks to a stunning fightback from a set and a break down to Petra Kvitova, but Sakkari's efforts this week in California have left her with bleeding toes.

It is hardly surprising, considering she has taken a long route through to the semi-finals, reeling off four consecutive three-set wins.

Sakkari has lost the first set in three of those four matches but found a way to battle back, but she will want to start strongly against a dialled-in Sabalenka.

After coming through 4-6 7-5 6-1 against Kvitova, Sakkari said in an on-court interview: "I need a pedicure because my feet are bleeding so badly."

Asked about that comment later, she said in a press conference: "It's just my nails. It's not ideal, but nothing bad, like I can properly play and run and everything, but it's not nice."

It sounds far from pleasant, yet Sakkari fights on, aware that despite not playing her top-level tennis so far this fortnight, resilience has pulled her through.

"It is strange, but at the same time, I'm just telling myself, look, you're not playing your best tennis and you're still winning and beating amazing players," Sakkari said.

"By just surviving and just finding ways, eventually I'm sure that my game is going to get better. I really want to see how it's gonna be when I will start feeling good with my game.

"But of course I don't want to say that like I was playing s*** and I won. That's not the case. That's also very bad for the opponent."

Considering Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion and a 29-time singles title winner on tour, Sakkari ranked Wednesday's win as one to log alongside her finest victories.

"For me coming back against her, now that she's playing good, now that she has beaten so many good players, it's a bloody good win," Sakkari said. "The fact I found a way was one of the best comebacks of my life."

Sakkari trails 4-3 in the career head-to-head against Sabalenka despite winning their last two encounters, both at the WTA Finals in each of the past two seasons.

They have not faced each other since Sabalenka became a first-time grand slam champion in Melbourne at the start of the year.

Sakkari was runner-up at Indian Wells 12 months ago, losing to Iga Swiatek in the final, and she has designs on beating Sabalenka to earn another crack at the title match.

Asked about the Belarusian, Sakkari said: "She's an amazing player. I knew that she was gonna win a grand slam. It actually came, and I was very happy for her.

"She's very fun to be around. It's going to be very, very tough, because she's feeling the ball really well."

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