Maria Sakkari defeated top seed Aryna Sabalenka to win her final round-robin match in Group Chichen Itza and book a spot in the semifinals of the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara.
The fourth-seeded Sakkari fought for almost three hours to earn a 7-6(1) 6-7(6) 6-3 victory over Sabalenka, who had dropped only one set across their previous four meetings.
Even though Sabalenka was serving for the first set at 5-3, Sakkari managed to force a tiebreak. Helped by three aces and two Sabalenka’s double faults in the tiebreak, Sakkari dominated the end of the opening set.
After missing three set points, Sabalenka edged the second set in a tight tiebreak. In the decider, the Belarusian went ahead 3-1, but Sakkari won five games in a row to win in two hours and 47 minutes, the longest match at the tournament so far. The Greek was greatly helped by her opponent’s 19 double faults in the match.
Earlier on Monday, Iga Swiatek defeated Paula Badosa 7-5 6-4 on the Spaniard’s 24th birthday, but it didn’t change the outcome of Group Chichen Itza.
Sakkari now owns a tour-leading nine Top-10 wins this season. Her semifinal opponent will be Anett Kontaveit, while the other semifinal will be an all-Spanish meeting between Garbine Muguruza and Paula Badosa.