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Sakkari advances to WTA Finals semis after edging out Sabalenka in three sets

Maria Sakkari. Photo: WTA

Guadalajara (Mexico), Nov 16 (MNN) Number 4 seed Maria Sakkari booked her spot in her first semi-finals in Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara, defeating top seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(1), 6-7(6), 6-3 on the final day of round-robin play for the Chichén Itzá group.

The victory boosted Sakkari to 2-1 in group play and dropped Sabalenka to 1-2, meaning the 26-year-old Greek star will join group winner Paula Badosa in advancing to Tuesday’s semi-finals.

As the second qualifier out of the Chichén Itzá group, Sakkari will face Teotihuacán winner Anett Kontaveit for a spot in the final.

Sakkari entered the match looking to snap her four-match losing streak to the Belarusian. Sakkari managed to win a total of just eight games over four sets in their past two matches, at 2021 Abu Dhabi and 2020 Doha.

Sakkari broke Sabalenka twice to earn a break advantage and reeled off the last five games sealing the victory after 2 hours and 47 minutes by breaking Sabalenka for the eighth time to secure her seventh straight win over a Top 5 opponent.

Sabalenka came into the WTA Finals as the tour leader in double-faults, striking 296 during the regular season. The Belarusian struggled to find her second serve throughout the week in Guadalajara, striking 42 double-faults across three matches.

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