Home Sports Tennis Sabalenka shines, sizzles past Sakkari as WTA finals kick off

Sabalenka shines, sizzles past Sakkari as WTA finals kick off

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Sabalenka shines, sizzles past Sakkari as WTA finals kick off

World No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday inched nearer to securing the year-end prime spot as she dominated Greece’s Maria Sakkari within the group-stage opener on the WTA Finals.

The 25-year-old from Belarus, who captured this 12 months’s Australian Open title, fired six aces and 17 winners whereas saving all 5 break factors she confronted to dispatch Sakkari 6-0, 6-1 on the season-ending occasion in Cancun, Mexico.

Sakkari saved three match factors to carry serve within the penultimate recreation however fell after 74 minutes.

“It was not as easy as the score showed,” Sabalenka stated. “I just try to stay focused, try to control myself in this match and do everything I can to win.”

American Jessica Pegula defeated Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-2 in 83 minutes within the different singles group stage match on the $9 million outside hardcourt showdown.

Two teams of 4 gamers will compete in round-robin matches by way of Friday, with the 2 prime finishers in every group advancing to Saturday’s semi-finals. The closing shall be subsequent Sunday.

Sabalenka is making an attempt to carry off second-ranked Iga Swiatek, the reigning French Open champion from Poland, to say the year-end crown taken final 12 months by four-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek.

Sabalenka can clinch the year-end prime spot by going 2-1 within the group stage and reaching the ultimate, it doesn’t matter what Swiatek does.

The triumph by Sabalenka ensures Swiatek should win the title to have an opportunity on the year-end prime spot.

Sabalenka was the runner-up finally month’s U.S. Open and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the French Open. She additionally received WTA titles this 12 months in Madrid and Adelaide.

Sabalenka grew to become world No. 1 after her run to the U.S. Open closing in September, ending Swiatek’s 75-week rankings reign after her debut at No. 1 in April 2022.

“It’s good to reach one of your goals, but you still need to work hard and bring your best tennis,” Sabalenka stated. “When you reach No. 1, I feel like you have this huge target on your back.”

Monday’s opening matches within the different group ship Swiatek in opposition to reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and 19-year-old American Coco Gauff, the US Open champion, in opposition to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

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