Greek tennis superstar Maria Sakkari fell just short of the Women’s Tennis Association Final’s championship game on Tuesday after losing to Estonian player Anett Kontaveit.
Kontaveit– the No.8 seed at the Finals– pulled an upset against No.4 seed Sakkari at the semifinal match in Guadalajara, winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. The 25-year-old Kontaveit has now reached the championship game at her first-ever appearance at the WTA Finals.
Kontaveit is set to go up against No.5 Garbine Muguruza for the title on Wednesday. Muguruza was formerly ranked No.1 in the world.
“I still can’t quite believe that I’m even here and I’m playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament,” the Estonian player said after the match. “I’m just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in.”
A thrilling season for Maria Sakkari despite Tuesday’s upset
The 26-year-old Greek had reached the semifinals after defeating top seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(1), 6-7(6), 6-3.
Sakkari had previously made tennis history for her country this season, becoming the first Greek woman to qualify for the WTA Finals in either singles or doubles.
Sakkari said after the match: “Obviously my season is not finished yet, but this tournament has been very successful after today’s win,” Sakkari said. “I’m just very, very happy that I still show good emotions on court, I still play with my heart even though it’s been 11 months since we started this season. I’m just going to enjoy tomorrow’s match.”
The victory boosted Sakkari to 2-1 in group play and dropped Sabalenka to 1-2, which gave the Greek star her ticket to Tuesday’s semifinal against Kontaveit.
Maria Sakkari won the first match in the WTA Finals defeating Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday afternoon in Guadalajara.
She scored a third straight win over the 2020 Roland Garros champ to take the early lead in Group Chichén Itzá.
Sakkari’s highlight of 2021 was the semifinal of the French Open
Sakkari had a very strong start to the season reaching consecutive semifinals in Abu Dhabi and Melbourne’s Grampians Trophy. A first-round loss at the Australian Open was followed by a quarterfinal appearance in Doha.
In Miami, she ended Naomi Osaka’s 23 match winning streak en route to the semifinal. An average clay season culminated into a run to her first-ever grand slam semifinal at the French Open where she lost 7–9 in the third set to the eventual champion Krejčíková, despite having a match point. Prior to that defeat, she had already eliminated Sofia Kenin and Iga Świątek, both of whom contested the 2020 French Open final.