WATCH: Maria Sakkari makes touching gesture after win over retiring Misaki Doi
Maria Sakkari was the first to pay tribute to retiring Misaki Doi after putting an end to her final run in Tokyo.
In a touching gesture, Sakkari embraced Doi at the net and revealed that it had been an honour to be her final opponent.
Sakkari kicked off her Tokyo Open campaign with a second round win over the home hope after receiving a bye through the first round.
The No 4 seed moves on to the last eight but was eager to praise her opponent after the victory as well.
Sakkari ended the career of 32-year-old Doi by defeating her 6-3, 6-1, in 65 minutes.
In extending her winning streak to six matches, Sakkari pounded 25 winners and didn’t encounter a break point, although Doi had her fair share of standout moments in her farewell professional match, including a tidy lob in the decisive game.
“You’re an amazing player. You’re a wonderful person. What an honor,” Sakkari told Doi at the net.
Sakkari discussed her chat with the Japanese veteran at the net during the on-court interview she gave following the match. The world No 7 advised Doi to enjoy her post-retirement life and that it was a “honour” to compete against her.
“I don’t want to talk about me today. It was an honor to play against Misaki in her last ever match. You deserve to enjoy life. You deserve to enjoy yourself, have some fun. We know how tough tennis life is. Take some time. I’m sure you’ll find a way to find something special again in your. It was an honor to play you. You had an amazing career, so congrats,” Sakkari said.
No 5 seed Caroline Garcia, who defeated Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 31 minutes, will go up against Sakkari next.
Garcia received a ‘performance bye’ after making it to the semifinals in Guadalajara last week, but she didn’t exhibit any signs of exhaustion after her massive trek. The French player, who is now ranked 19th in the Race to the Finals, hit 29 winners, including 10 aces, and have up just a handful of points behind her first serve all match.
Sakkari defeated Garcia during her run to the title in Mexico last week to strenghen her position in the Finals race. Depending on how Ons Jabeur progresses in Ningbo, Sakkari has a shot at moving into the top eight of the Race with a deep run in Tokyo.
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