Anett Kontaveit recorded a tour-leading 48th win this season with a 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory over Maria Sakkari to set up a meeting with Garbine Muguruza in Wednesday’s final of the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara.
After Muguruza cruised past fellow Spaniard Paula Badosa in the first semifinal on Tuesday, the eighth-seeded Kontaveit joined her in the final to book their second encounter at the season-ending tournament in Guadalajara. During the last round-robin match in Group Teotihuacan, the two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza ended Kontaveit’s 12-match winning streak with a 6-4 6-4 victory.
In the twelfth career meeting with Sakkari, Kontaveit raced through the first set without facing a break point. Late in the second set, Sakkari finally earned her first break point — up to that moment, the Estonian had been broken just twice in Guadalajara — readily converted it and held on her fourth set point to force the third set.
The fourth-seeded Greek then proceeded to a go a break up in the decider, 3-2, but Kontaveit broke right back and won all the remaining games to triumph in just over two hours. The 25-year-old Kontaveit’s mentality shifted when she dropped serve in the fifth game of the third set and she started marching towards her third consecutive final:
The turning point in the third set 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. I got some freedom from that and just started playing better and managed to turn that set around.
The 26-year-old Sakkari is very disappointed after losing this tough battle with her good friend:
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.