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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, August 28, 2023

NEW YORK—Maria Sakkari is considering pressing pause on playing after another painful major exit.

The US Open first round was the final stop for the eighth-seeded Sakkari, who squandered a 4-1 first-set lead losing 11 of the last 15 games falling to Spaniard Rebeka Masarova 6-4, 6-4.

More: Kei Nishikori Out of US Open

It was Sakkari's third straight Grand Slam opening-round exit and her ninth first-round major loss in 31 Grand Slam appearances. 

World No. 8 Sakkari, who tuned up for the US Open reaching the Washington, DC final earlier this month, said she's considering taking a break from tennis after her Flushing Meadows collapse to try to clear her head.  

“I think my level was below zero, it's very bad at the level I'm at like this, it hurts me a lot, it's very, very difficult to deal with it at the moment, it's painful," Sakkari told Eurosport Greece in comments translated by SDNA. "The question is what I will do from tomorrow, the possibility of taking a break and putting my mind in order and my thoughts is a scenario.

"The other scenario is to keep going and try my best this year."

Last month, Sakkari dished out a first-set bagel to Marta Kostyuk at Wimbledon before the Ukrainian stormed back for a 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 first-round victory. That came after Karolina Muchova out-dueled Sakkari 7-6(5), 7-5 in the Roland Garros opener. World No. 43 Muchova went on to knock off world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka and reach her maiden major final in Paris.

Tennis Express

Confessing she's sometrimes struck by anxiety on the court at times, the 2021 US Open and Roland Garros semifinalist said this defeat is like a raw wound that leaves her feeling like she's letting herself and Greek people down. 

"It's very fresh at the moment to say what's right or what I want to do because it's also the emotions of the race, there are these two scenarios in my mind," Sakkari said. "It's very frustrating, I feel like I'm shaming myself, I'm shaming my own people, I'm shaming all Greeks."

The 71st-ranked Masarova, who scored her first Top 10 win in five attempts, moves on to a second-round meeting vs. world No. 64 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Photo credit: Sarah Stier/Getty