Maria Sakkari sinks Aryna Sabalenka to seal spot in WTA Finals semis
Maria Sakkari claimed the last semi-final berth in Guadalajara as her WTA Finals journey continued with a win over the top seed.
Aryna Sabalenka was facing the Greek in a straight shootout for the last place in the WTA finals last four. Both women had won one and lost one so far in the group.
The tough-fought encounter saw the pair split the first two sets, each taken in a tiebreak by Sakkari then Sabalenka.
In the decider, Sabalenka took the break lead before surrendering momentum to Sakkari as the Greek clinched victory 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 in nearly three hours on-court.
As a result, Sakkari now has 38 wins in 2021. Should she win the Finals, she would break 40 wins in a season for the first time ever.
In fact, before 2021, Sakkari had never even won 30 matches in a WTA season.
With the win over Sabalenka, Sakkari also continues an impressive streak against her highest ranked opponents.
Since defeating Belinda Bencic in February 2020 when the Swiss was ranked fifth in the world, Sakkari has won six more matches consecutively against top five challengers.
“I think I’m just closer to them now,” the 26-year-old said after ousting Sabalenka.
“My ranking shows that, my results shows that. It’s just that I’m really getting closer to them.
“I proved to myself and everyone that I can beat them like I did today.”
Sakkari will face Anett Kontaveit for a shot at the finals in Mexico. Paula Badosa and Garbine Muguruza will face off in the other semi-final, an all-Spanish affair.
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