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Maria Sakkari celebrates a successful debut in Linz

Tournament favourite Maria Sakkari qualified for the round of 16 at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz 2023 on Tuesday evening! The number one of the WTA tournament celebrated a successful debut in Upper Austria with a 6:1, 7:6 (8/6) win against Nuria Parrizas Diaz from Spain. Camila Giorgi, the 2018 Linz winner, is also through to the round of 16. In the last match of "Super Tuesday", Donna Vekic from Croatia, the Australian Open quarter-finalist, defeated Tamara Korpatsch from Hamburg 7:6 (7/4), 6:1.

Maria Sakkari took a stroll through Linz on Tuesday morning, but her match in the evening was no walk in the park! While the first set was a clear-cut affair for the athletic Greek, the world number seven had to work hard in the second set before her place in the round of 16 was secured. She lost her service game at 6:5 and Sakkari had the better of the tie-break, winning 8/6. The enthusiastic tennis fans gave both players a huge round of applause for a match at a great level. Upper Austria's Councillor for Sport and Economic Affairs Markus Achleitner, who tossed the coin, also watched the match with great enthusiasm.

"I played a very good first set. Overall, I didn't do much wrong, my opponent was just very strong in the second set," said the 27-year-old. "It was very sad when I couldn't compete here in Linz three years ago because of my wrist injury. I'm very happy that I've now been able to return as the top seed. All the people here are incredibly nice: Sandra Reichel, 'Babsi' Schett and everyone behind the scenes; it's great to be here. The court suits my game very well. I hope I can stay here as long as possible and eat another schnitzel."

Camila Giorgi hopes to win her second title at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz

Camila Giorgi, a favourite of the Linz tennis crowd, also showed no weakness. The 31-year-old Italian defeated Romanian Jaqueline Cristian, the Linz finalist in 2021, 6:1, 6:2. "It was a great match, I played my game from the first to the last point. It's always a pleasure to play in Linz and the new arena is beautiful," said Camila Giorgi. When asked by tournament ambassador Barbara Schett whether she would like to take the trophy home from Linz again after 2018, the Italian replied: "I really hope so!"
Marketa Vondrousova, the silver medallist at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, was also delighted with her success, winning 6:3, 6:3 against Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria. Tomova had beaten Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 2015 Linz winner, in round one. "I really like it here. It's very close to Prague, so my family came to watch, which is very nice," said the 2019 French Open finalist. Her compatriot Linda Noskova, on the other hand, was immediately eliminated. The 18-year-old young star lost to Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 6:7 (3/7), 2:6.

Surprises from two qualifiers

The qualifiers Dalma Galfi (Hungary) and Rebeka Masarova (Spain) caused some big surprises. Galfi prevailed 6:2, 7:6 against the tournament's number seven, the American Bernarda Pera. Pera had won the WTA tournament Hamburg European Open, also organised by Sandra Reichel, in 2022. Masarova, a Spaniard born in Basel to a Slovakian father, defeated the number two seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 4:6, 6:1, 7:6 (8/6).