Michaela Laki: the rising star of Greek tennis

Michaela Laki. Credit: Michaela Laki/Facebook

Michaela Laki is the rising star of Greek tennis, as proven by her recent successful performance at the Australian Open 2022.

The 16-year-old tennis prodigy advanced to the quarter-finals of the tournament but failed to reach the semi-finals after losing 2-0 (6-4, 6-2) to the American Liv Hovde early Thursday.

However, Laki is currently No. 6 in the chart and No. 11 in the world rankings and is coming off his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

In other words, the future is wide open for Michaela Laki, who says she was inspired by Greek tennis stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari.

Michaela Laki at the Junior Australian Open

The rising star of Greek tennis made her successful Australian Open debut beating Switzerland’s Chelsea Fontenel (#38) 2-0 (7-6(3), 6-0).

Laki then beat Britain’s Ranah Akua Stoiber (#41) 2-1 (4-6 6-4 6-4) in the second round of girls’ singles, advancing to the quarter-finals.

After her second victory, the Greek marvel signed a big victory in the tie-break of the third set after a nice upset against the Czech Dominika Salkova (n°35) and qualified for her first Grand Slam quarter-final. .

In the quarter-final against the American Liv Hovde (n°20), the Greek tennis player got off to a bad start. She made many mistakes, finishing 1-5 in the first set.

Nonetheless, Laki made an impressive comeback, having pulled it down 5-4, 0-30, reaching two points from a break that would bring a draw. The 16-year-old American, however, served well and took four points in a row, to end the first set 6-4.

This gave Hovde the momentum to play a perfect second set, in which Laki again made many mistakes, making it 6-0 against her.

Larissa’s rising tennis star

Born on March 24, 2005 in Tyrnavos, Larissa, Laki started playing tennis at the age of five and her obvious love for the sport led her to the start of a brilliant career.

Thanks to intense training of more than four hours a day, under the guidance of coach Phoebus Michalopoulos, the girl honed her skills.

She said she owes a lot to the invaluable help of her parents and her three siblings, without whom she could not have reached the point where she is now.

On July 28, 2019, she played in the European U14 Championship final in Most, Czech Republic, just the second Greek teenager to play in a tournament final after Lena Daniilidou in 1996.

At 16, after competing in high-level tournaments, Laki has grown into an ambitious athlete full of enthusiasm for the sport and sheer determination to succeed.

In June 2021, she played at Wimbledon for the first time, losing to American Elizabeth Coleman 2-0.

During her first participation in Rolland Garros, she managed to climb into the top 16 of the event in the Junior category.

The young player managed a nice surprise against Sofia Kostoula, who plays for Belgium, winning 2-1 sets (4-6, 6-2, 7-6).

Laki managed to pull off a huge upset in the third set tie-break, in a match that lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Inspired by Tsitsipas and Sakkari

Naturally, for a Greek girl like Michaela, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari are the tennis players to look up to.

“For any Greek athlete, Stefanos and Maria are a great inspiration,” Laki told itftennis.com.

“They motivate us to play our best and achieve our goals. They also make us feel like we can do the same as them. To be at the same tournament as them is very special and it motivates me to do my best and be like them,” she told the Tennis Journal during the Australian Open.

“I was very excited to see Stefanos play after my match and I was shouting ‘Vamos, Stef’, ‘Vamos, Stef’, and I do the same with Maria too. I always get super excited every time I watch them play and I really like the way they play,” she said.

As for international players, Michaela says she admires Roger Federer and Serena Williams the most.

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