World No 6 Maria Sakkari revealed Rafael Nadal inspired her mid-match tactic change at the United Cup. On Wednesday, Greece played Croatia in the Perth City Finals at the United Cup. At one point during her match against Croatia’s Petra Martic, Sakkari decided to “do a Nadal” and start returning from a very deep position.
That worked extremely well for Sakkari, who defeated Martic 6-3 6-3. “I had to adapt. I had to change my returning position because the ball was bouncing very high. I said ‘I am gonna do a Rafa, go and stand you know on the Perth sign and just you know stay deep and make as many returns as I can’
It worked for me today,” Sakkari said.
Sakkari came up big for Greece
After winning her singles match, Sakkari returned to the court for the fifth and decisive mixed doubles match.
Sakkari and Tsitsipas came up big for Grece in the mixed doubles match as they beat Martic and Borna Gojo 7-6 (6) 6-4 to push their nation into the United Cup semifinal. In Perth, Sakkari and Tsitsipas went 3-0 in their mixed doubles matches.
“I think our first mixed doubles was on this court. Our games are just clicking. We know each other really well and we have great chemistry on the court, and I think that’s the key. Of course, the more we develop as players, that’s also something that adds up and makes us play a lot better on the mixed doubles for sure,” Sakkari explained.
Also, Sakkari didn’t hide her happiness with the fact that Greece made the semifinal at the inaugural United Cup. “I am so happy and proud of this team, I just cannot put it in words. Coming in here, it’s the first tournament of the year, you don’t know what kind of form you are in, but I think we saw that we are in pretty good form,” Sakkari said.