No.17 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece secured a hard-fought victory over No.14 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-2 in a nearly three-hour contest to reach the fourth round of the French Open for the first time in her career.

Maria will now take on last year’s finalist, American Sofia Kenin, in the pre-quarterfinals.

No.4 seed Sofia overcame first-set blues to beat compatriot and No.28 seed Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-1 6-4 for a berth in the fourth round for the third year running.

No.24 seed Coco Gauff of the US also made it to the pre-quarterfinals here for the first time after her compatriot, No.13 seed Jennifer Brady, retired due to a foot injury after losing the first set 1-6.

Gauff will next have to beat No. 25 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the round of 16. Ons shook off a rough first set to eventually get past Magda Linette of Poland, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.

“I think it was one of my best matches I have played in a long time,” Maria Sakkari said after beating Elise Mertens.

“Elise played extremely well, I think. She never gave up. I think I just played probably the right way when I had to. I gave myself a better chance today. I just took the chances, especially in the third set,” Maria told wtatennis.com.

On her upcoming pre-quarterfinal match against Sofia Kenin, Maria said: “(Kenin) played the final here last year, so she’s playing good here, for sure. You know, you don’t get easy opponents in these rounds of a Slam.”

–IANS

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