Alycia Parks earns first Top 10 win over Maria Sakkari to reach Ostrava quarterfinals
First Top 20, now Top 10: Alycia Parks' breakthrough at the Agel Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic continued on Thursday with her first career Top 10 win. The American qualifier came from a set down to knock off No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 and reach her first-ever WTA quarterfinal. Currently ranked No. 144, Parks is competing in just the seventh WTA main draw of her young career this week.
"I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match," Parks said in victory.
The 21-year-old's stay in Ostrava had already been noteworthy even before she took the court against Sakkari. Her win against the Greek star comes two days after she earned a Round 1 upset over two-time Grand Slam finalist and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.
That triumph against Pliskova, currently ranked No. 19, was her best-ever win by ranking by nearly 30 spots, until she knocked off No. 7 Sakkari.
To top it off? Parks is in Ostrava alone, with her father and coach Michael and the rest of her support team back home in Florida.
"I was coming from Parma [played on clay] last week, and everyone said, 'How are you going to switch surfaces like that?' But surfaces don't really affect me. Indoor hard is my strength," she said.
Waving to the camera after she clocked a forehand winner to seal the upset, Parks later added: "I have support back at home, and I can feel it over the phone!”
Despite losing her first set of the week, Parks responded well to adversity, and never lost serve in the second and third sets. Most impressively, she staved off a break point at 4-4 in the second set with quick thinking: A stab volley to the open court kept Parks alive in the game, denying Sakkari an opportunity to serve for the match.
Over the course of 2 hours and 44 minutes, Parks struck a staggering 59 winners, including 15 aces, to just 26 unforced errors. Defending finalist Sakkari managed only nine winners.
Parks next faces 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced to the quarterfinals via walkover after No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic withdrew due to a left foot injury.
Parks will be joined in the quarterfinals by her doubles partner this week, fellow American qualifier Caty McNally; in her second-round match, McNally defeated Czech wild card Karolina Muchova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, in a minute over 2 hours to reach her first-ever WTA 500 quarterfinal.