Maria Sakkari laments weed smoke in surprise US Open loss

By Alex Raskin Sports News Editor for and Associated Press Updated: 23:12 August 28, 2023

  • Spain’s Rebeka Masarova beat number eight seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4
  • Sakkari complained about the smell of weed. Marijuana is legal in New York
  • offers the latest international sports news

The US Open, long known for its noisy crowd and louder LaGuardia Airport, now offers tennis stars a new distraction: the smell of marijuana.

Spain’s Rebeka Masarova defeated eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, with the Greek later complaining that the smell of marijuana bothered her during her defeat.

“The smell, oh my god,” said the Greek Sakkari to the referee in the first sentence. “It was weed.”

As of 2022, marijuana use was legal in upstate New York, but the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is a smoke-free facility, so anyone who smoked was at risk of being evicted. USTA spokesmen did not immediately respond to’s request for more information.

Sakkari’s second-hand smoke wasn’t the only surprise on Day 1 in Queens, where No. 4 seed Holger Rune suffered a shock first-round elimination.

Maria Sakkari of Greece cools down between sets against Rebeka Masarova of Spain. Spain’s Rebeka Masarova (right) defeated number eight seed Maria Sakkari (left) 6-4, 6-4

Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, ranked 63rd, defeated Rune 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-2 on Monday, celebrating his first win over a top 10 player. The 20-year-old Dane reached the quarter-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon, making it into the top five.

In the women’s game, number 1 defending champion Iga Swiatek needed just 58 minutes to beat Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1.

Tenth seeded American Frances Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who reached the semifinals at last year’s US Open, had a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over wildcard compatriot Learner Tien hardly any problems.

Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion who is unseeded this year, defeated 25th-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-2 6-4. Thiem, an Austrian who had lost his last seven Grand Slam matches since the 2021 Australian Open, next meets American Ben Shelton, who defeated Argentina’s Pedro Cachin in four sets.

No. 4 seed Holger Rune became the tournament’s first major upset victim on Sunday in Queens

There are still games to be played with Coco Gauff for women and Novak Djokovic for men.

Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida, meets Laura Siegemund from Germany, who won the women’s doubles title in New York three years ago. Gauff finished second at the French Open in singles – he lost to Swiatek – and in doubles in 2022.

Finally, in the main stadium, 23-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic meets Frenchman Alexandre Muller, who is making his US Open debut. It’s a return to the event for Djokovic, who missed it last year because he couldn’t travel to the US as a foreigner who isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. This rule has been dropped.

The first round is played on Monday and Tuesday. The tournament lasts two weeks and ends with the women’s singles final on September 9th and the men’s singles final on September 10th.


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Matthew Collins

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