No.2 seed Maria Sakkari celebrated her return to the Guadalajara Open AKRON with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Storm Hunter in the second round on Tuesday night. A finalist last year, Sakkari will face Camila Giorgi in the Round of 16.
"I think it was a very solid match," Sakkari said. "Obviously it was a little tricky in the second set. But at the same time, it was good that I put myself in that situation and I overcame it."
Over the past three seasons, Sakkari has become a distinct crowd favorite in Guadalajara. Last year, she rode the wave of local support to clinch the final qualifying position at the WTA Finals. The tournament, the city and the people have remained close to Sakkari's heart ever since.
"I couldn't ask for a better place to come to overcome my fears, my doubts, my tough emotions," Sakkari said. "Before the match, I was excited to come back out on this court.
"I feel like this is my home tournament, I'm not joking. I wish I had a tournament back home, but maybe I can get citizenship, I can become Greek and Mexican. It's incredible that I come here every year and I get to experience that. It's overwhelming."
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Sakkari is hoping the good vibes can help her pull out of the stall she's experienced since making the Washington D.C. final. Since losing to Coco Gauff in that match, Sakkari has not posted back-to-back wins. She will try to end that dry spell against Giorgi, against whom she is 3-0.
In the last match of the night session, Emma Navarro continued her strong fall run, defeating No.4 seed Madison Keys 6-2, 7-6(5) to advance to the Round of 16. Now ranked No.49, the 22-year-old from Charleston has now won seven of her last eight matches across all levels.
Navarro is coming off a run to the San Diego semifinals last week, where she earned the first Top 20 win of her career over Sakkari. Her win over Keys is her second in as many weeks.
In the 1-hour and 23-minute contest, Navarro played a more disciplined match to earn her first win over Keys. Navarro broke Keys five times, taking advantage of the US Open semifinalist's lack of control. Keys finished the match with 21 winners to 39 unforced errors. Navarro hit 10 winners and 19 unforced errors.
Navarro will face Canada's Leylah Fernandez next.