SAN JOSE, California — Greece’s Maria Sakkari delivered one of the biggest upsets of her career at the WTA San Jose tournament on Friday, ousting former seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in a straight sets shocker.
The 23-year-old Sakkari saved two set points in the second set en route to a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) victory over the former world No. 1, punching her ticket to the semifinals where she will face another unseeded player, Danielle Collins.
World No.49 Sakkari needed one hour and 43 minutes to dispatch Williams as she has rolled through her first three matches at this event without dropping a set.
Sakkari converted six of her eight break points in the match, and hammered 21 winners, three more than the 38-year-old Williams.
“I was ready for the match, compared to the last times I played against her. I was ready for a battle and ready to play against Venus Williams,” said Sakkari.
Williams, who has won this event twice in 2000 and 2002, made a whopping 43 unforced errors.
Venus’ defeat follows the shocking upset three days ago of her sister Serena, who suffered the most lopsided loss of her career, 6-1, 6-0 to Johanna Konta in round one.
American Collins moved into the semifinals after her opponent, former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, retired midway through the second set due to a back injury.
Sakkari’s mother Angeliki Kanellopoulou was also a top 50 ranked WTA player back in the late 1980s.
Fourth-seeded Elise Mertens ended the giant-killing run of Konta to set up the other semi-final clash with fifth-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Belgium’s Mertens emerged from a tight match with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Konta.
“I just played point-by-point, because anything can happen,” Mertens said.
Mertens reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in January, but she and Romania’s Buzarnescu will both be battling to reach a first premier level final.
Buzarnescu, who beat Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 7-5, fell to Mertens in the final in Hobart in January.