California [US], March 16 (ANI): World No. 7 Maria Sakkari on Thursday scripted a stunning comeback win as she rallied from a set and a breakdown to defeat 15th seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and advance to her second straight semifinal of the ongoing Indian Wells in the California desert.
Sakkari will lock horns with No.2 Aryna Sabalenka on Friday for a spot in her third WTA 1000 final.
Sakkari's fourth consecutive three-set victory in Indian Wells, with three of those victories coming from a set down. Sakkari has now tied Anastasia Potapova for the most three-set wins on tour this season, with seven.
Kvitova broke Sakkari early in the second set, but the World No.7 maintained her cool and gradually turned the tables on Kvitova. The Czech generated five break points to Sakkari's two, but Sakkari was more clutch in the big moments. Sakkari converted both break points she earned in the second set, including a break in the final game, to force a decider after trailing 40-0.
Sakkari went into a lock-down mode during the final set. Sakkari made only six unforced errors in the third set after making 36 in the first two. The Czech struggled to maintain her consistency as she pressed Kvitova from the baseline. Sakkari methodically closed out the match after 2 hours and 15 minutes after breaking for a 3-1 lead. Sakkari won with 21 winners and 39 unforced errors, while Kvitova won with 29 winners and 52 unforced errors, including 12 double-faults.
"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. I just feel like the fact that I found a way today was one of the best comebacks of my life," WTA.com quoted Sakkari as saying.
"I'm just telling myself, look, you're not playing your best tennis and you're still winning and beating amazing players. I mean, my draw was bloody tough. I wouldn't take it in any other tournament," 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," she added.
Sakkari will now prepare to face No. 2 Sabalenka, who reached her third semifinal of the season by defeating Coco Gauff in four games. (ANI)