Maria Sakkari secured the last berth in the WTA Finals Friday eliminating Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in the Guadalajara quarterfinals.
The match was a rare virtual elimination match for the Finals, with the winner going in and loser out. And Sakkari had to hold her nerves until the very end when she saved a break point while serving it out.
“Without fire you cannot win these matches,” said Sakkari who said 14 of 15 break points.
“Without heart, without courage, without going for it and being brave you cannot get these opportunities, you cannot win them.”
Sakkari’s into her second straight WTA Finals while Kudermetova came up just short for a debut spot. The Greek will face Marie Bouzkova in the semifinals of the WTA 1000 today. Bouzkova got through her quarterfinal after Alina Kalinskaya retired down 5-2 with a foot injury.
Also on Friday, former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka edged Coco Gauff 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 to advance to her first WTA semifinal of the year.
“I was just thinking, ‘Coco’s … the same age as my career,’ so it felt pretty interesting,” the 33-year-old Azarenka said. “She’s such a great athlete and I can’t wait to see how far she’ll go.
“It was a lot about the first ball, trying to serve smart, and trying to put a lot of pressure on return. She served really well, she was mixing a lot, so I was just trying to adjust when I had opportunities. I had quite a few and I couldn’t convert them, so I tried to just stay consistent and look for another one, and not get down on myself.”
Azarenka will now meet the steady American No. 1 Jessica Pegula who crushed Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-2.
2022 WTA Finals Field
You Might Like:
WTA Regular Season Wrap Up At WTA 1000 Guadalajara; Gauff, Badosa, Sabalenka Lead Field
Sakkari Rallies Past Collins In Guadalajara, Will Face Kudermetova Today For Last WTA Finals Spot
Swiatek Swats Away Garcia At WTA Finals; Kasatkina Eliminates Gauff
Sakkari Sacks Sabalenka To Reach SFs, Jabeur Over Pegula; Swiatek, Coco Back Thurs.
2021 WTA Finals – Guadalajara Qualifications