Sabalenka and Sakkari square off for semifinal spot

Whereas Group Teotihuacán entered its remaining round-robin day with three gamers in competition for a second semifinal place and quite a lot of eventualities in play, Group Chichén Itzá has performed out extra straightforwardly.

Paula Badosa’s straight-sets defeats of Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari haven’t solely assured the Spaniard of semifinal development however high spot within the group. Iga Swiatek’s losses to Sakkari and Sabalenka imply that she is eradicated.

The second semifinal spot will go to the winner of Sabalenka and Sakkari’s conflict in the present day.

[5] Iga Swiatek (POL) vs. [7] Paula Badosa (ESP)

There is no getting round the truth that the primary singles match is a useless rubber. Badosa has received the group, Swiatek has been eradicated, and nothing that occurs right here will alter these issues.

However regardless of little being on the road – other than 250 factors for the winner – there’s nonetheless motivation and intrigue. Indian Wells champion Badosa is now on an eight-match successful streak. Like Anett Kontaveit in Group Teotihuacán, it is evident that momentum has been an important issue for 2 gamers who certified for the WTA Finals by way of last-minute autumn surges. Badosa and Kontaveit are dialled-in competitively, and they’re going to need to keep away from any dip in depth.

Champion’s Reels: Paula Badosa, Belgrade | Paula Badosa, Indian Wells

For Swiatek, this match might be a degree of delight. As the one Grand Slam champion in Group Chichén Itzá, going 0-3 on her WTA Finals debut could be considerably anticlimactic. Furthermore, there is a painful loss to exorcise. Swiatek’s Olympic dream was ended 6-3, 7-6(4) by Badosa within the second spherical of Tokyo this summer time, a defeat that left her in tears afterwards.

Maybe most necessary for Swiatek might be merely delivering a powerful efficiency. Her three-set loss to Sabalenka was a step up from her opening defeat by Sakkari, and the Pole goals to proceed her enchancment.

“In fact I am not blissful that I misplaced, however I am fairly blissful that I overcome some points that I had over the last match,” she stated. “For certain my efficiency was higher, my perspective was higher.

“I really feel like I form of received in the present day, 2-1 perhaps, as a result of I received towards my stress and a bit of little bit of concern, however I misplaced towards Aryna.”

Champion’s Reels: Iga Swiatek, Adelaide | Iga Swiatek, Rome

A lot of that was all the way down to Swiatek’s skill to regulate tactically to Sabalenka. With all of the strain off her shoulders by way of outcome, she is going to be capable to focus purely on the method towards Badosa.

“I simply hope we’ll make present,” she stated. “Simply ending the season with efficiency is my aim.”

Head-to-head: Badosa leads 1-0.

[1] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [4] Maria Sakkari (GRE)

In distinction to the primary singles match, the whole lot is on the road within the second conflict of the day, which is a straight battle to succeed in the semifinals between two gamers whose fortunes have fluctuated to date.

After Sakkari’s first match, the Greek was using excessive. Her recreation was in high situation, her execution flawless and her serve particularly appeared invincible. However having received 26 out of 27 first serve factors towards Swiatek, Sakkari bumped into an opponent whose superior returning took that weapon away from her. She was solely in a position to win 51% of her first serve factors towards Badosa, who broke serve 3 times.

One-third of the way in which via Sabalenka’s tie with Swiatek, the Belarusian had failed to alter her narrative, having added a 3rd disastrously error-strewn set to the 2 she had performed towards Badosa. However she will be able to draw great confidence from lastly harnessing her recreation because the match went on.

Champion’s Reels: Aryna Sabalenka, Abu Dhabi | Aryna Sabalenka, Madrid

Sabalenka received over 84% of her first serve factors within the second and third units – and maybe extra importantly, managed to intestine out an in depth third set. That had been one thing of a weak point over the course of the season. She got here into the WTA Finals with a 9-13 document in three-setters in 2021, together with losses in every of the Grand Slams.

The freshly bolstered Sabalenka may also look to the head-to-head to underline her potential benefit over a abruptly shaken Sakkari. She leads it 4-1, together with the final 4 matches – certainly, since dropping to Sakkari of their first assembly at Cincinnati 2019, Sabalenka has solely dropped one set to her.

Head-to-head: Sabalenka leads 4-1. Sakkari received their first encounter 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 within the third spherical of Cincinnati 2019. Since then, Sabalenka has been victorious in straight units within the 2019 Zhuhai spherical robin, the third spherical of Doha 2020 and this yr’s Abu Dhabi semifinals; and in three units within the first spherical of Dubai 2020.


Beginning at 2pm
[5] Iga SWIATEK (POL) vs [7] Paula BADOSA (ESP)
[1] Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) / Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE) vs [6] Alexa GUARACHI (CHI) / Desirae KRAWCZYK (USA)
Not earlier than 7.30pm
[1] Aryna SABALENKA (BLR) vs [4] Maria SAKKARI (GRE)
[3] HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) / Elise MERTENS (BEL) vs [8] Sharon FICHMAN (CAN) / Giuliana OLMOS (MEX)

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