After Anett Kontaveit from Group Teotihuacan advanced to the semifinals on Friday, Paula Badosa became the second Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara semifinalist on Saturday, beating Maria Sakkari 7-6(4) 6-4 in Group Chichen Itza.
The victory over Sakkari is Badosa’s sixth against a Top 10 player this season. Moreover, the Spaniard, who started the year ranked 70th, has extended her winning streak to eight matches. Based on her 2-0 record in Group Chichen Itza and on results of other players, the new world No.10 Badosa advances to the semifinals as the group’s leading player.
Later on Saturday, top seed Aryna Sabalenka edged Iga Swiatek 2-6 6-2 7-5 in their first career meeting. Both players had lost their opening round-robin matches.
Sabalenka fought hard to record her first Top 5 win this season:
After the first set I was saying to myself, You have to get through this challenge, you have to get through this challenge, over and over again. You have to fight. You can’t give up like you did in the first match.
Swiatek will definitely not make it to the semifinals, but the Pole is very positive about her WTA Finals debut and Saturday’s match:
Looking at how I felt when I came here, two days ago, also yesterday, I feel like I kind of won today, 2-1 maybe, because I won against my stress and a little bit of fear, but I lost against Aryna. In the end I’m going to think this is a positive day.
Monday’s match between Sabalenka and Sakkari will determine the second qualifier out of Group Chichen Itza. The semifinals will be contested on Tuesday. The final is scheduled for Wednesday. (quotes via WTA Insider, photo: Jimmie48)