WTA Finals: Aryna Sabalenka claims SF berth; Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur exit
by ABBEY JOHNSON | VIEW 2402
Aryna Sabalenka joined Maria Sakkari as the second semi-finalist from the Nancy Richey group at the WTA Finals on Friday. The seventh seed defeated Jessica Pegula in their final round-robin match, 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 30 minutes.
Sabalenka won 80% of her first-serve points to Pegula’s 51%. She converted six of the 12 break points she had on the American’s serve but saved only two of the five break points she faced. Post-match, speaking with the media, Sabalenka said, “(I kept) saying to myself, ‘Just stay focused, keep fighting – it doesn’t matter, two or three sets, just get the win, the extra points.’ At the end was a little pressure because you try to not think about this, but this thing stays in your mind.
I’m happy that I was able to finish it in two sets. In the beginning, I said to my team that I’d prefer the second match to 100% know what I have to do to get through”.
WTA Finals: Maria Sakkari dominates Ons Jabeur
Earlier, Sabalenka’s chances of making it to the semis hinged upon the result of the round-robin match between Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari.
Had Jabeur defeated Sakkari in straight sets, Sabalenka would’ve crashed out of the event. But Sakkari’s 68-minute, 6-2, 6-3 win meant that the Tunisian’s campaign in Texas came to an early end. The fifth seed won 82% of her first-serve points and 67% points on return on Jabeur’s second serve.
She converted four break points on the second seed’s serve while dropping her serve only once during the proceedings. After her victory, the Greek shared, “I think I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing.
I’m trusting myself. I’m just fearless on the court. I’m enjoying myself here. There’s no secret behind how I’m playing, it was about time to start playing good again. I’m just very happy that it’s actually happening here”.
Maria Sakkari will go into the WTA Finals’ semi-finals on the back of a 3-0 record in the round-robin stages. As the group topper, she awaits the second semi-finalist from the Tracy Austin group who’s yet to be determined. Aryna Sabalenka will play Iga Swiatek’s who’s topped the Tracy Austin group.