Fourth seed Maria Sakkari admitted she suffered a small bout of nerves in her first round 6-2 6-3 win over Clara Burel at the French Open on Sunday but promised to improve so her parents will get to see her in the later stages of the tournament.
Last year’s semi-finalist was never troubled by the 21-year-old French player but said she would need to cut down on her mistakes after making 29 unforced errors.
“I want to do well here. People want to come see me play,” Sakkari told a news conference. “My parents want to come here later in the tournament so I want to be here for as long as possible.”
“It’s always tough to play against a local. I think I handled my stress, handled the stress of the first round, extremely well. My tennis was not 10 out of 10 but I am happy.”
The 26-year-old’s power was too much for Burel, who struggled with her serve and made five double faults in the first set alone, including one on set point.
“You cannot expect to play a perfect match when it’s a first round of a Grand Slam. A lot of things won’t go as you have planned or practised,” she said.
“Obviously my baseline game has to just improve and maybe reduce the unforced errors,” Sakkari said.
Burel improved in the second, breaking early and forcing Sakkari, who will move up to third in the world when the rankings are published on Monday, into a string of errors.
Sakkari, however, remained composed to go 4-3 up and break Burel again when the world number 94 double-faulted.
She then held serve to set up a second-round match against Czech Karolina Muchova when Burel sent a forehand long on Sakkari’s first match point. [Reuters]