Sabalenka Hammers Sakkari In WTA Finals Opener, Pegula Gets First Win; Swiatek, Gauff Today

by Staff | October 30th, 2023, 11:04 am
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Aryna Sabalenka opened the WTA Finals in dominant fashion Sunday hammering Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-1 in the first round robin match in the Bacalar Group.

Sabalenka, who fell to Sakkari in the WTA Finals last year, won the first 11 games threating a rare Finals double bagel.

“The score looks really easy, but it wasn’t an easy match,” Sabalenka said to the WTA. “I’m super happy to win this match, especially against Maria, someone who was such a big fighter and all these tough matches against her.”

Sakkari was a late replacement for Karolina Muchova who withdrew with a wrist injury.

“I don’t have much to say, it was obvious that I wasn’t comfortable, I couldn’t play my game, I hope it will be better for Tuesday,” Sakkari said. “I was relaxed, but I didn’t feel my game… we’ll see what I can improve and I hope to have a better result.”

Earlier, Jessica Pegula won her first match at the WTA Finals. After finishing 0-6 last year (0-3 in singles, 0-3 in doubles), the American eased past former Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-2. Pegula took 10 of the last 12 games. Rybakina served for the first at 5-3.

“She made a couple of errors, a couple of loose points and I was able to jump on it and find my momentum,” Pegula told the WTA. “I started serving a little better after that and was able to get a read on her serve and I started finding my rhythm a little bit with the court and the balls. I just took advantage of the opportunity that I had.”

Rybakina falls to 1-3 against Pegula.

“I had a chance to win the first set, they were difficult conditions, I tried to do my best, but this is what happens when you don’t serve well and the opponent has good returns,” Rybakina said. “Actually today there was not as much wind as every day I was practicing, I think the quality of the game was not the best, but I tried to try as hard as I could.”

On tap Monday, the Chetumal Group opens up with Iga Swiatek taking on Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova and then Coco Gauff takes on Ons Jabeur.

Swiatek and Sabalenka are also bidding for the No. 1 ranking this week.

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