Australian Open: Maria Sakkari’s brilliant pre-match routine caught on camera
Maria Sakkari was having too much fun before a fourth round Aussie Open blockbuster – then things took a turn for the worse.
The 24-year-old Greek star busted out a Fortnite-inspired dance move for the cameras at Melbourne Park ahead of her clash with Petra Kvitova on Sunday afternoon.
The official Australian Open Twitter account shared Sakkari’s moves to Twitter, along with the caption “This is the best thing you’ll see all tournament”.
Watch the moment in the video below
Sakkari’s bubbly pre-match vibe translated into some impressive tennis early against her more-fancied rival, as she took the first set on Rod Laver Arena.
Unfortunately the fun didn’t last too long for the 22nd seed as Kvitova bounced back from one set down to take the match 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-2.
Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, was staring down the barrel early in the second, down a set and a break to the 22nd seed.
But her experience shone through from that point onwards in the fourth-round clash, winning 11 of the next 15 games to reach the last-eight at a grand slam for a 12th time.
“To be honest, I really don’t know,” Kvitova said when asked how she managed the stunning turnaround.
“I just keep playing. I was down a break in the first. I was able to make it to a tiebreak but obviously I lost it.
“So I really had to fight really hard. Suddenly, I just got to stop her game a little bit.
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“I was playing more rallies. I was trying still to play my game but not as much risk and my serving really helped.”
Sakkari was riding a wave of history as the first Greek woman to make the fourth round of a major since Eleni Daniilidou at Wimbledon in 2005.
Having fallen to Sakkari in their past two meetings at Cincinnati and Rome last year, Kvitova was under no illusion that stopping the 24-year-old in her tracks would prove a hard task.
“It’s really tough to play Maria,” she said.
“Last time I lost to her, so I really knew it would be a difficult match.”
Kvitova will next play the winner of Sunday night’s match between top seed Barty and American world No.19 Alison Riske.Spicy and salty: the Nadal-Kyrgios rivalry
Pass the popcorn.
The most anticipated match of the 2020 Australian Open will play out on Rod Laver Arena on Monday as bitter rivals Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal meet in the fourth round.
On play alone there’s enough to captivate.
The Spanish 19-time grand slam winner and all-time great up against the most gifted shot-maker of his generation playing in front of his home crowd.
Nadal leads 4-3 in career meetings; Kyrgios 2-1 on hardcourts.
The backstory only adds more spice to the rivalry.
In a podcast last year, Kyrgios labelled Nadal “super salty” and accused the Spaniard of not giving enough credit to players who beat him.
It appeared to fire up the 33-year-old for last year’s Wimbledon clash, a gripping match which Nadal won in four sets.
Kyrgios admitted after the second-round clash that he had aimed to hit Nadal “square in the chest” when the Spaniard was at the net.
“Why would I apologise? Dude’s got how many slams? How much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest,” Kyrgios said.
After his epic win over Karen Khachanov, Kyrgios wasn’t talking up their apparent enmity - but he wasn’t talking it down either.
“If we don’t like each other or whatever, I think there’s a layer of respect. He’s one of the greatest of all time. I also read that he thinks I’m good for the sport,” Kyrgios said.
“There’s a layer of respect that we both have for each other. Doesn’t necessarily mean we like each other, but ... we’re going to go out there and give contrasting styles and personalities.”
Equally, Nadal gave just enough to suggest there could be a detente - or could just as easily get heated again.
“I don’t know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion,” he said after his own third-round win earlier on Saturday.
“It’s clear, of course, that when he does stuff that in my opinion is not good, I don’t like.
“When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour.”
Monday’s winner will play either fifth seed Dominic Thiem or 10th seed Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.