World No. 7 Maria Sakkari has made history as she has become the first Greek woman to qualify for the WTA Finals. On Thursday, Sakkari was up 6-0 1-0 before Anna Kalinskaya retired their round-of-16 match in Moscow. With 100 already gained in Moscow, Sakkari is guaranteed a spot in the WTA Finals.
Sakkari hasn't won a title this season but she has been pretty consistent, most notably making Grand Slam semifinals at the French Open and US Open. Recently, Sakkari described making the WTA Finals as one her biggest goals.
"It would sound crazy and stupid if I said that I'm not motivated because I'm trying to achieve one of the biggest goals of my career, for the first time, which is the WTA Finals, and I'm more motivated than I was in the first week of the year, because, yes, it is the end of the season and I know that other players are tired, and I know that other players don't have that goal,” Sakkari said during her pre-tournament press conference in Indian Wells.
Sakkari 'surprised' herself
Sakkari admitted she didn't believe at the beginning of the year that she would be in a position to fight for a WTA Finals spot. "I cannot imagine myself being in that position at the beginning of the year," she said.
"It's great to be in that position. I really like the challenge and I really enjoy that I actually have a chance, because, yes, it might sound crazy for someone that has played the finals a couple of times or three or four times, maybe their motivation is not as high as it is for me, because let's be real it's my first time and it's a goal - it's something big for a tennis player, it is one of the best tournaments in the world and it is only eight players that get to play it. "It's been a very successful year for me, and I know that I can finish the year strong for sure."