Greek tennis star Maria Sakkari beat American Caroline Dolehide in the Guadalajara Open final on Saturday to win her first WTA 1000 crown, ending a four-year title drought.
Second seed Sakkari powered past Dolehide, who is ranked 111th in the world, for a 7-5, 6-3 victory to capture her second career title, Reuters reports.
It has been four years since the Greek tennis player won her last title at the WTA 250 finals tournament in Rabat in 2019. She had lost six titles since, the last one to Jessica Pegula in Guadalajara the past year.
Well worth the wait 🎊
— wta (@WTA) September 24, 2023
On Saturday’s final, Sakkari was the firm favorite, and despite some difficulties in the first-set, she had a splendid finish after one hour and 43 minutes.
This was Sakkari’s biggest career title, rising from her current spot of world No. 9 to world No. 6 on Monday, and keeps herself in good contention to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.
“We’ve heard so many bad things – that I will never win a title, that I’m a top-five player with only winning one title,” said Sakkari, who broke down in tears after her win.
“That was very hard for me to overcome and I’m so happy that I did it here this week … I want to thank my coach Tom (Hill) who has been with me the last five years. We’ve waited for more than four years for a second title.
“I want to thank my family. I really wish they were here with me. I want to dedicate this trophy to my grandfather who passed away last year, and my grandma who is watching at home.”
Mexico is Sakkari’s “Second Home”
The Greek tennis star has previously described Mexico as her second home. She was presented with the champion’s sombrero after her win and also wore the Mexican soccer team’s shirt during the trophy ceremony.
“It’s the biggest win of my career … I’m just very, very grateful that it happened here,” she said in a news conference later, looking hopefully to the season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun.
Her ability to suffer, to accept criticism, to work with her head down not caring what was said about her, her strength and her smile, but also the tears that made her incredibly human
Maria Sakkari is the WTA 1000 Guadalajara champion, and it feels very well deserved ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Zpmu0Crg4Z
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) September 24, 2023
“I’ve said it many times this week, I just really enjoy my time here … Tonight and tomorrow, it’s going to be two very happy days for me.”
In Saturday’s final, Dolehide rallied from a break down in a tight opening set to take a 5-4 lead, but Sakkari won the next three games to take the set.
She broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set and held for 5-3 with her third ace of the contest, before sealing the victory.
Sakkari broke serve four times in victory, and hit 19 winners to Dolehide’s eight, to become the first woman to win a WTA 1000 this year without losing a set.
Sources: Tennis.com, Reuters