WTA Finals: Jessica Pegula bests Maria Sakkari to make herself more comfy in SF

Maria Sakkari ended up with no wins in the trio of round-robin matches she contested

by Abbey Johnson
WTA Finals: Jessica Pegula bests Maria Sakkari to make herself more comfy in SF
© Sarah Stier/ Getty Images

Jessica Pegula will play the semi-finals of the WTA Finals on an unbeaten note. On Thursday, the American no. 2 won her third and last round-robin match of the Bacalar Group against Maria Sakkari. After an hour and 19 minutes, Pegula wrapped up the proceedings, 6-3, 6-2.

Sakkari was undone by eight double faults across the match. Both players didn’t do much behind their first serve. Pegula finished with 46% while her opponent won 44%. However, Pegula upped her level when it came to winning points on second-serve return, winning 63%.

She also won 58% points on her second serve. Both players created 15 break points between themselves. Of these, four came on Pegula’s serve and she could save only one. Of the remaining 11 break points that emerged on Sakkari’s serve, Pegula converted four.

WTA Finals: No can do for Maria Sakkari in Cancun

With two more round-robin matches yet to feature, in the Chetumal Group, Pegula still remains the only player who’s appearance in the semis’ confirmed. In Pegula’s own group, the last round-robin match between Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina had to be postponed to Friday due to rain.

However, the first hour and 22 minutes of the match between Sabalenka and Rybakina didn’t lack for entertainment. The world’s highest-ranked singles player, Sabalenka began the match by taking control early on and pocketed the first set, 6-2.

As has been the pattern this year, Rybakina retaliated by securing a break in the second set. But with rain coming to be an interference, right before Rybakina’s service game in the ninth game in which she was to serve for the set, the match had to be abandoned for the day and rescheduled for the following day.

Meanwhile, for Maria Sakkari, the first player to say goodbye to the 2023 WTA Finals, it’s been quite a disappointing outing. In fact, this is the first time in three appearances in the season-ending tournament that the 28-year-old didn’t make it to the semi-finals. Previously, she’d reached two consecutive semi-finals in the event, in 2021 and 2022.

Wta Finals Jessica Pegula Maria Sakkari