This year's Roland Garros proved to be more sour than sweet for Maria Sakkari. She may have gone further than ever before by reaching the semifinals, her first last four appearance on a major stage, but she left without her identity.

The Greek player took out Grand Slam champions Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek en route to the semifinal round and it was there she lost in heartbreaking fashion to eventual winner Barbora Krejcikova. Up 5-3 in the deciding set, Sakkari saw a match point come and go and eventually fell 9-7 in the decider. It was a crushing loss and she felt she lost a bit of her bravery in Paris.

Following her over three-hour battle with Bianca Andreescu on Arthur Ashe Stadium that started on Monday night but finished Tuesday morning, she opened up about her struggles.


"I felt like I lost that bravery after the French. I was more hesitant, I was not going for it so much" she told press.

Sakkari was prepared for another tough bout similar to their encounter in Miami earlier this year, and that's what she got. After three hours and 30 minutes of grueling play, she claimed the match with a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 6-3 score around 2:15 a.m. Her bravery was clearly back as she never took her foot off the gas and capitalized on every opportunity to step into the court. The match was filled with pressure points, and the world No. 18 moved with ease and let her shots go through all of it.

"I lost my identity, that's how I called it. I lost myself, part of myself. With my psychologist, as well, I found a way to come back and feel again what I felt out there today.

"By telling myself to be more brave, it's not like, Maria now be brave and you're brave. It's just a process in practice and everything that has helped me to be more brave," she said.


The No. 17 seed will continue that process against No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova. The quarterfinal matchup marks their third career meeting, but first encounter outside of Rome's 1000-level event. Sakkari defeated the Czech in Rome back in 2018 and Pliskova captured revenge at the same event in 2019.