Maria Sakkari, World No. 9 ranked player and the fourth seeded at the DC Open, broke down in tears after Coco Gauff defeated her in the championship match in two straight sets 6-2, 6-3. The American teenager, who won her fourth career trophy, outplayed the Greek star, who was going for her second WTA crown.
As she only hit one ace and faced 10 break points in the match, losing four of them, Sakkari found it difficult to maintain her rhythm and serve. On the other hand, Gauff was reliable and steady, striking seven aces and fending off three of the four break points she encountered. Gauff dominated the whole game, which lasted for one hour and 14 minutes.
During the trophy presentation ceremony, Sakkari was visibly emotional and had difficulty speaking. She congratulated Gauff on her performance and praised her as a person and a role model. “It’s pretty disappointing but at the same time, a month ago I wouldn’t think that I would be here, so thank you,” Sakkari said. She also thanked Tom, and her sister for supporting and believing in her, and also addressed them as the ‘core’ of her team.
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The 28-year-old had a breakthrough year in 2021, becoming the first Greek player to advance to the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open and the US Open. Additionally, she qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career, when she beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets en route to the semifinals. She had a career-high rating of No. 9 at the end of the year.