WTA

WTA Finals: Sakkari trumps top seed Sabalenka to reach semis

By Sports Desk November 16, 2021

Maria Sakkari powered past Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Finals at the expense of the top seed.

Sakkari and Belarusian star Sabalenka went head-to-head in the final round-robin contest in Group Chichen Itza, with a semi-final berth up for grabs on Monday.

In her WTA Finals debut, fourth seed Sakkari won the final five games of the match to eliminate Sabalenka and earn a date with Anett Kontaveit.

Sabalenka had the chance to serve for the opening set at 5-3 but Sakkari fought back, saving a set point in her own service game to force a tie-break, which the Greek star raced away with.

The second set followed a similar theme – Sabalenka twice serving to send the match into a decider at 5-4 and 6-5, however, Sakkari made life difficult for her opponent.

Another tie-break was required, though this time Sabalenka outlasted Sakkari on her fourth set point after two hours of gruelling tennis.

Sabalenka proved her own worst enemy in the third set after tallying 10 double-faults as Sakkari rallied from 3-1 down to eventually upstage the Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist.

Having ended the match with 19 double-faults, Sabalenka departed the year-ending championship with 38 in total – only Oceane Dodin in Palermo (62) made more double-faults in a single WTA Tour tournament this season.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS  

Sakkari – 27/36
Sabalenka – 29/56

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sakkari – 8/8
Sabalenka – 7/19

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sakkari – 8/13
Sabalenka – 6/12

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