The Guadalajara Open and its winner prove successful despite a bleak start

The struggle to get big name players at your tournament could prove to your advantage when the result turns sour. Guadalajara's reverse psychology netted sweet returns.

by GALE MOORMAN
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The Guadalajara Open and its winner prove successful despite a bleak start
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As the Guadalajara Open started formulating its roster of players, it seems like there was a heavy cloud over the Mexico tournament as nearly 8 top players withdrew due to stress conditions. "Unfortunately I need to withdraw...due to a change of schedule...I need to listen to my body and the season is very intense..." top player Iga Swiatek explained on her social media page and to the press.

It was very soon that Jessica Pegula, their defending champion gave apologies for withdrawing saying, "I am sorry to be missing this year after so many great memories last year." The list started to grow with Coco Gauff, the U.S.

Open champion fresh off her title run bowed out as well as the no. 1, Aryna Sabalenka. Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova took a withdrawal along with veteran Petra Kvitova and injuried Paula Badosa and Bianca Andreesca. What will the tournament organizers and directors do? They scrambled and shuffled their deck of other amazing players to replace the premier ones and the show went on as wonderful as it could be expected.

Some players that were merely tidbits of showing their great skill during the year proved they were also dynamic and put on a great, exciting performance for the crowd of earlier disheartened fans. Sofia Kenin was once a key player for the U.S.

Fed Cup team, now returning back on tour after plagued with injuries and lackluster performances. She tepped up her game and overpowered Jelena Ostapenko and U.S. Open finalist in 2021, Leylah Fernandez to get into the Guadalajara semifinal.

It wasn't routine for Caroline Dolehide to go deep in any tournament and certainly not a WTA 1000. But the break came when Jessica Pegula bowed out and Dolehide made it to the Guadalajara final defeating Sofia Kenin, Martina Trevisan and Ekaterina Alexandrova along the way.

She never would have been up against the tough competition of Maria Sakkari if it wasn't for players withdrawing and she explains "Coming into this event and winning that tight match gave me more and more confidence," Dolehide beams with excitement and pure happiness.

It was despite her gritty match with Maria Sakkari she gave it her all and came in ranked nearly 100, but left in the top WTA 50 status. Sakkari proved the grand winner coming in with dismal previous performances on the tour so far.

She was bounced out of the first round of the U.S. Open which crushed her emotions and momentum. She had made it to the quarters of the San Diego Open, possibly thinking she could go further. Maria's return to Guadalajara brough back wonderful but also sad memories of her making the final last year but having a loss by Jessica Pegula.

Sakkari hasn't won a title in 4 years when she captured her first career title at the Morocco Open. She'd wonder when would another one come. The Greek was looking to be aggressive at this Guadalajara even and win, but had come across some tough and ingenious players.

Emiliana Arango from Colombia hadn't been on tour as long as others but Sakkari was able to win in straight sets off of her. Sakkari's consistency wen further and she had great wins over Camila Giorgi and Caroline Garcia. Maria was able to seal the final by playing smart tennis when she met up with Caroline Dolehide and defeated the former college tennis player.

"I'm amazed, I'm speechless," Sakkari had gave a broad smile. The time between winning the last title perplexed Maria no more. "Four and a half years sicne I won my first title and I just finally won my second one," she shook her head in disbelief.

"I'm proud of myself that I did it this week," she said gratefully. But she wasn't the only one grateful for the tournament's success. The organizers and directs at the Guadalajara Open were glad to have produced a superb tournament that at its beginning experienced withdrawals that could have destroyed the event's popularity.

There were 8 top 10 that decided to withdraw from the Mexico tournament because of injury, exhaustion and just traveling difficulties. Most had chosen to go straight to China for the Beijing Open than stop for a week in Mexico.

The WTA was obligated to pay the Guadalajara organization $350,000 because of the amount of players withdrawing and being that it was a WTA 1000 level event. It was well accepted by the Mexico tournament and the even turned out to be a marvelous success.

Guadalajara Open
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