World No.5 Maria Sakkari said she probably would have lost easily if she hadn’t been aggressive from the start against Aryna Sabalenka. Sakkari, 27, came out fired in her second group match at the WTA Finals as she defeated Sabalenka 6-2, 6-4.
«If you’re not aggressive on this court, then it’s game over. If you were passive, especially against [Sabalenka], the biggest hitter on the tour, then it’s just goodbye. I only went for that. If I’m not going to try here, when will I?» Sakkari said after the match, according to the WTA website.
Two days earlier, Sakkari defeated Jessica Pegula for her first top five win of the season. After beating Sabalenka and earning a ticket to the semi-finals, Sakkari admitted that it feels good to play well against top players again.
«It’s been a long time since I’ve had straight set wins against these players, so it feels very new to me again. To be able to win [against] these players in straight sets, it’s impressive and it’s finally paying off,» Sakkari added.
How did Sakkari defeat Trinity?
Sakkari came out strong against Sabalenka, breaking the Belarusian in the third and seventh games to easily win the first set. After winning the first set, Sakkari started the second with back-to-back breaks and a 3-0 lead.
Down by a set and two breaks, Sabalenka refused to give up and responded with back-to-back breaks to win four games in a row and take a 4-3 lead in the second set. Just when it seemed the momentum shifted in Sabalenka’s way, Sakkari won the next three games and completed a straight-set win.
Sakkari plays Ons Jabeur in their last match of the group stage. «I am very motivated to play. [Jabeur] again. She is in top form. I’m going to take this match the same way I did the last two, and I’m going to try to get another good win, because I think that will help me not only for the semi-final, but also for the next season,» Sakkari said of playing Jabeur.