‘Second Service’ tennis news: Maria Sakkari qualifies for WTA Finals completing the field, Zhizhen Zhang makes Chinese tennis history
Looking back on the big tennis news in our exclusive ‘Second Service’… Maria Sakkari completed the 2022 WTA Finals line up with a win over Kudermetova as Zhang becomes first Chinese man to be ranked inside the top 100, and more.
To start this tennis news roundup, Maria Sakkari has qualified for the WTA Finals for a second consecutive year after defeating Veronika Kudermetova to reach the semi-finals in Guadalajara. The Greek star came through 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 and make it to the last four at the WTA 1000 event.
Sakkari joins Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka and Daria Kasatkina in the WTA Finals singles draw beginning 31st October.
“Without fire you cannot win these matches,” she said as the victory sank in. “Without heart, without courage, without just going for it and being brave.
In other tennis news, Zhizhen Zhang has confirmed his spot inside the ATP top 100, becoming the first man from China man to achieve the feat.
The moment looked on the cards after Zhang reached the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 Napoli Cup. In doing so, the qualifier broke into the top 100 in the live rankings. However, after the 26-year-old lost to Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, other results would confirm or deny the achievement.
“I think it is a tough road to be Top 100,” Zhang said after making it to the last eight. “I’m so happy for today because I played two matches today and it is a small step, but it’s also a big step for Chinese men’s tennis.”
Furthermore, Iga Swiatek has only lost one match against the seven other WTA Finals qualifiers this season as she heads into Fort Worth as the heavy favourite.
Swiatek is 19-1 against the other competitors that will take to the court in Fort Worth. Moreover, that includes a 13-0 record on hard courts. She has beaten six of the seven at least twice this season, except for Cincinnati Open champion Caroline Garcia. In fact, the Frenchwoman won their only meeting in 2022 on the clay of Warsaw in the quarter-finals.
Otherwise this year, Iga Swiatek is 4-0 against Daria Kasatkina, 4-0 over Aryna Sabalenka, 2-0 versus Maria Sakkari, 4-0 facing Jessica Pegula, 3-0 against Coco Gauff, and 2-0 facing Ons Jabeur.
To conclude, Matteo Berrettini has battled through not just his opponent but also injury to reach the final of the ATP 250 Napoli Cup.
The world number 16 looked in trouble as he fell 5-0 behind against Mackenzie McDonald, surrendering the set 6-3. Foot problems troubled Berrettini before he somehow managed to claim victory 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. The tournament second seed is now into a fourth final of the season and his first in Italy in his career.
“I actually don’t even know how I did it,” Berrettini admitted. “I wasn’t feeling very good. I had asked for the physio because my foot was hurting. Hopefully for tomorrow I’m going to be ready. But like has happened so many times in my career I fought through so many things that are not just thinking about a tennis ball.
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