Parks upsets Sakkari to continue the breakthrough in Ostrava

Two days after scoring her first Top 20 victory, Alycia Parks passed away. The American qualifier marked her maiden Top 10 victory, defeating No.4 seed Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open to reach the Hologic WTA Tour quarterfinals for the first time.

No.144 was Ortus’ order No. 1 Karolina Pliskova puts it straight in the open. The same formidable power was also on display against Sakkari: Parks matched 59 winners, including fifteen aces, while keeping his unforced errors to 26. But against Sakkari, he managed only nine winners throughout.

However, the 21-year-old Parks – who is alone in Ostrava, with his team at home in Florida – showed exceptional resilience from the back and weathered several key moments en route to a 2-hour, 44-minute victory.

in the words of Parks: “I came out here thinking nothing, just playing my game, and it got me through the competition,” said Parks, who also expressed an affinity with Ostrava’s decisions.

“I came from Parma last week, and everyone said, how do you change faces like faces? But surfaces don’t touch me. Indoors is hard, my strength.”

Match management: Both players settled into the match, exchanging the first two games. Thereafter, the service would be in the reward: only three further bursts of service, each coming to the set end of the tail.

At 5-5 in the first set, Parks’ pair of double faults opened the door for Sakkari, who came up with some superb passing shots on his way to a devastating break. But Parks was able to shake off the disappointment of losing such a tight opening act, holding back the match with some emphatic looks.

As the match progressed, Parks’ net prowess became crucial. An excellent rock stab cut a break point at 4-4 in the second set, and Sakkari went to break after a three-deuce struggle in the final set game.

In the decider, it was Sakkari’s turn to escape a similar chance and the Greek player held four break points for 4-4. But Parks came up with some of the best shots of the day to keep his nose in front, and he cruised back to 6-5. Sakkari’s errant forehand gave him an opening, and Parks converted the first match point with a sharp forehand winner on the line.

What next for Parks? A first-time meeting with former Roland Garros contender Barbora Krejcikova, who walked through the walk-off after No.6 seed Belinda Bencic withdrew due to a left foot injury.

Krejcikova battled injury and health throughout 2022, falling out of the top 20 from a career high of No.2. However, the Czech returned to form this month and is now on a six-match winning streak following a top-quality title run in Tallinna last week.

America thrives in Ostrava: Parks was joined in the quarters by doubles partner and fellow American qualifier Caty McNally, who defeated wild card Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Everyone decorates: McNally d. Muchova

Both McNally and Muchova delivered a virtuoso display of creative shot-making, especially at the net. For the second match in a row, McNally also removed a successful tweener en route to capturing the point. The 24-year-old, in her first career WTA 500 quarterfinal, will have the chance to prove herself against World No.1 Iga Swiatek next.

McNally and Swiatek previously teamed up to win the 2018 Roland Garros girls’ doubles title. In the same event, McNally defeated Swiatek 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in the girls’ singles semifinals — the only meeting to date at any level.

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