Maria Sakkari reached the second round of the Italian Open on Monday, following a gruelling three-hour victory over Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog.
The Greek number 17 seed edged a tight first set tiebreak 8-6 and then broke serve early in the second to lead 2-0.
Hercog bounced back by taking six of the next seven games to level the match, but she couldn’t maintain that form and faded in the decider, Sakkari eventually closing out a 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-2 victory.
American teenager Coco Gauff will provide the opposition for Sakkari in the last 32 after battling through a three-setter of her own against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
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