WTA San Jose: Aryna Sabalenka and Saisai Zheng set final battle


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WTA San Jose: Aryna Sabalenka and Saisai Zheng set final battle

After a hard-fought triumph over Amanda Anisimova, world no. 55 Saisai Zheng is through to her second WTA final following a 7-6, 6-2 win over the last year's San Jose finalist Maria Sakkari. The match lasted an hour and 55 minutes and the Chinese stayed in front almost all the time, losing serve three times and stealing the Greek's service games on five occasions to propel herself into the title match, heading to San Jose with five straight losses!

They split the previous two encounters in 2016 and the battle was on in this one again, with the opening set lasting for some 70 minutes. Zhang forged a 3-1 advantage before allowing Sakkari to break back in game six, with six good holds on both sides that set the tie break which Saisai won 7-5 to make a big step towards the finish line.

The first five games of the second set saw four breaks of serve and it was Zhang who held the strings in her hands, breaking Maria four times to cross the finish line and stay on the course for the first WTA title at the age of 25.

World no. 10 Aryna Sabalenka has had a mediocre season so far, heading to California eager to change that and advancing into the seventh WTA final with a rock-solid 6-4, 6-3 win over the 5th seed Donna Vekic in an hour and 18 minutes.

Aryna clinched the first win in four meetings against the Croat, barely winning a point on the second serve to suffer four breaks but erasing that deficit with a dominant performance on the return, securing six breaks from 13 opportunities to leave Donna behind.

After the initial hold for Sabalenka, they exchanged six consecutive breaks before Aryna notched another one at 5-4 to wrap up the opener. Two breaks in games two and six were enough for the Belarusian to stay in front in set number two, missing the match point on the return in the eighth game before crossing the finish line with a hold at 15 a few minutes later, staying in contention for the fourth WTA trophy.