The final match of the 2021 WTA regular season will pit Garbine Muguruza against the hot-handed Anett Kontaveit, with the victor earning their first WTA Finals title today in Guadalajara. And for Kontaveit, it would be her biggest career win.
Playing in her first WTA Finals, the Estonian Kontaveit got the better of Maria Sakkari last night in the semifinals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win.
“I still can’t quite believe that I’m even here and I’m playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament,” Kontaveit said. “I’m just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in.”
After splitting the first two sets, Sakkari held the break lead in the third 3-2, but wouldn’t win another game.
“I think the turning point in the third set maybe when I went a break down, 3-2, just managed to tell myself that if this is the last match of the season, then I might as well enjoy it,” Kontaveit said of the moment. “I feel like I got some freedom from that and just started playing better and managed to turn that set around.”
Kontaveit has won 29 of her last 32 matches. No one on the WTA has had a better run the second half of the season.
“I feel like the last few months have really showed me that I can play really well, I can beat great players consistently,” Kontaveit said. “I think I sort of have this self-belief now. When I came here, of course, I had nothing to lose. Every time I step on the court, I still think I can win the match, just do well.”
Sakkari falls to 1-7 this year in semifinal matches.
“Today was a missed opportunity from my side,” Sakkari said. “It’s definitely from my side. Obviously there’s a lot of respect from my side to Anett’s game. I think today I was just very close to taking that chance. I just wasted it.
“That’s why it hurts so much. It’s not that it was just bad luck, it’s that I threw away another chance. It hurts.”
Earlier, Muguruza rolled past countrywoman Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-3 in a first meeting between these two Spaniards. Muguruza earned early breaks in each set and powered through behind her serve.
I think it’s the best match that I played so far here in Guadalajara,” said Muguruza, after her win. “It was a tough match facing another Spaniard in the semifinals.
“But I’m very happy that I got the win. Very proud of Paula. She started the year far in the rankings, and now she’s a Top 10 player. Very impressive. She deserves a very well rest. Very happy for her year.”
Kontaveit will seek her 5th title of the season while Muguruza her third after Dubai and Chicago. The two finalists just met in the round robin with Muguruza winning 6-4, 6-4.
The final will be played at 7:30pm local time.
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