WTA Finals: Maria Sakkari clinches last SF berth; Iga Swiatek closes off in style

Iga Swiatek defeated Paula Badosa in the third and last round-robin match of the Chichén-Itzá Group on Monday in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. Swiatek completed a 7-5, 6-4 win over the Spaniard in an hour and 39 minutes. The win helped the Pole finish the tournament and her 2021 season with a win.

Badosa’s defeat also halted her winning run at eight matches. Nonetheless, she still topped the group and will take on Garbine Muguruza in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, speaking with the press after her win, Swiatek shared, “I think it was a really solid match from me. I’m pretty happy that I had a chance to show my tennis finally, overcome all these factors around, just play the game. I really enjoyed myself today on court, which is really important for me.”

WTA Finals: Maria Sakkari wins big

Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari won the other round-robin clash of the group against Aryna Sabalenka. The match was a literal knock-out meeting with the victor advancing to the semi-finals which ensured that Sakkari, in her debut, would play Anett Kontaveit in the penultimate round.

Sakkari won 7-6(1), 6-7(6), 6-3 in two hours and 47 minutes to oust the tournament top-seed. Sabalenka had the upper hand across all three sets but let her advantage slip away all the way through, even in the second set before capturing it in the tie-break to level the match at a set apiece.

After the match, a rueful Sabalenka admitted, “I just couldn’t find my rhythm. The whole match I was really struggling with my serve. On some moment I found it, and on some moment, I couldn’t do anything with my serve. It’s a tough match. Just crazy how bad I was serving in the last matches, especially this week. I guess a lot of work in the pre-season I will do.”

On her part, looking ahead to her semi-final match at the WTA Finals against Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari shared, “…I’m going to fight for it, do whatever I can to advance to the final. I just really want to enjoy tomorrow’s match because the atmosphere here is just unreal. I’m not going to have so much time to rest. My fitness level is, I believe, one of the best on tour, without being arrogant, but I believe fitness is one of my strengths. I’ll do everything to recover. If Anett is better tomorrow, it’s too good. But I’ll try to recover and just take advantage of the good things I felt today on the court.”

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