World No. 18 Maria Sakkari is eyeing the US Open final just like Emma Raducanu who has so far tickled the fancy of many with her impressive run.
British fans following Emma Raducanu’s fairytale in New York, that has taken her to the dizzying heights of the US Open semi-finals, will hope there are two chapters left to write.
History continues to be rewritten as the 18-year-old topples top seed after top seed, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic her latest victim, and she is the first qualifier ever at Flushing Meadows to reach the final four.
But next up is world No 18 Maria Sakkari and Raducanu will face one of the most powerful players on the women’s tour and it’s not often they have an entire government in their corner, either.
Sakkari is dating Konstantinos Mitsotakis, the son of Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, since last year.
‘It has been a year now since we met and the truth is that he helped me a lot,’ Sakkari told Alpha earlier this year.
‘He is a special guy. I have disclosed the relationship anyway; it is not hidden.
‘Konstantinos is a very simple guy. I can talk to him for hours. We have a very easy relationship. He is a very easy person.’
That calming influence helped guide her to this same stage in Paris back in the summer at the French Open – only for her first Grand Slam semi-final nerves to swallow her up.
Tennis runs in Sakkari’s family but she is looking to do something her mother never did and that’s reach a Grand Slam final.
Mum Angeliki Kanellopoulou enjoyed a professional career that saw her break into the top 50 but 26-year-old Sakkari is, for the second time this year, one match away from a Slam finale.
‘It’s going to sound a little bit silly, but ever since I was a young kid I was putting a lot of pressure on myself,’ Sakkari previously said when asked about following her mum into pro tennis.
‘That’s the way I was as a character. So she would be like, “Just go hit and enjoy it.” It sounds very common, but that’s the thing she has been telling me since I was 11 and up until today.
It is Raducanu’s first experience this deep into a Slam – not that nerves seem to be an issue so far in New York – and as well as a first Grand Slam final appearance as the carrot for the winner, a healthy $1.25million payday (£900,000) acts as an added incentive.
While 18-year-old Raducanu will have all of the UK rooting for her in the early hours of Friday morning – the blockbuster semi-final is slated for 2am UK time – it is a fellow Brit who is plotting her downfall on Sakkari’s behalf.
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