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WTA Finals: Top Seed Aryna Sabalenka Crashes Out as Maria Sakkari Advances

AFP

Last Updated: November 16, 2021, 11:33 IST

Guadalajara (Mexico)

Maria Sakkari (R) beat top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA Finals. (Reuters Photo)

Maria Sakkari (R) beat top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA Finals. (Reuters Photo)

WTA Finals 2021: Maria Sakkari outlasted Aryna Sabalenka to set up a semi-final against Anett Kontaveit.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka crashed out of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara on Monday, losing a gruelling three-setter against Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari. Sakkari set up a semi-final showdown with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit after outlasting Sabalenka 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 in 2hr 47min. Sabalenka was left ruing a failure to capitalise on key moments and an eye-watering 19 double faults that undermined her service game. The 23-year-old Belarussian squandered the chance to take the lead in the first set, allowing Sakkari to recover from 3-5 down to force a tiebreak. Sakkari then raced through the tiebreak to win 7/1, leaving Sabalenka needing to win the next two sets to stay alive in the tournament. The top seed managed to dig deep to take the second set on a tie break after once again letting Sakkari back into the game to come back from 5-3 down to 5-5.

But a weary Sabalenka wilted in the decisive third set, making 10 double faults to win less than half of her first-serve points.

Sakkari, 26, is chasing only her second WTA title after a win at the Morocco Open in 2019.

The right-hander is competing at the end-of-season women’s championships in Mexico after a 2021 campaign that included semi-final appearances at the French Open and US Open.

The other semi-final will see Spain’s Paula Badosa take on compatriot Garbine Muguruza, also on Tuesday.

Badosa, who was already assured of a place in the semi-finals, wrapped up her group stage with a 5-7, 4-6 loss to already-eliminated Iga Swiatek of Poland.

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first published:November 16, 2021, 11:33 IST
last updated:November 16, 2021, 11:33 IST