Sakkari moves past ailing Kalinskaya in Moscow, clinches WTA Finals spot

Maria Sakkari will make her debut on the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara. The Greek certified for the celebrated year-ending championships after advancing previous an sick Anna Kalinskaya, 6-2, 1-0, ret. within the second spherical of the VTB Kremlin Cup on Thursday.

Learn extra: Maria Sakkari earns historic qualification for 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara

“It was an important match,” Sakkari stated throughout her post-match press convention. “I knew that earlier than I stepped on the courtroom, as a result of I knew that if I received that match, I’d qualify [for the WTA Finals]. It’s reaching one in every of my greatest targets this yr, it’s very satisfying.

“I’m very happy with myself and my staff that we truly made it to the Finals for the primary time, and for the primary time within the historical past of Greece for a feminine tennis participant.

“I used to be very arduous on myself up till this yr….Rising, and in addition getting older and extra mature, you see sure issues completely different. Being good to myself was one of the crucial essential issues I’ve modified this yr, being good in the course of the video games and the matches.”

Sakkari’s surge: Sakkari continues a breakthrough season the place she turned the primary Greek girl to ascend into the High 10, reached her first WTA singles ultimate since 2019 in Ostrava, and made two Grand Slam semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Sakkari, at present at her career-high rating of World No.7, has made the elite eight in Moscow in her second look on the match, following a first-round loss to former champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2019.

Very good set: No.3 seed Sakkari eased by way of the primary set in half an hour, going 9-for-9 behind her first serve, and by no means going through a break level. After Sakkari grabbed an early service break within the second set to increase her commanding lead, an ailing Kalinskaya retired as a result of viral sickness.

Kalinskaya has just lately skilled sturdy success in a compressed timeframe, having received eight of her final 9 matches up to now three weeks earlier than her conflict with Sakkari. She made a sterling run to the Indian Wells spherical of 16 as a qualifier simply final week, earlier than qualifying once more for the Kremlin Cup principal draw.

Kontaveit bests Petkovic, rolls into Moscow QF: Highlights

2021 Moscow

Kontaveit cruises previous Petkovic

Earlier on Thursday, No.9 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia made her approach into the VTB Kremlin Cup quarterfinals, easing previous former High 10 participant Andrea Petkovic of Germany, 6-1, 6-4.

“I believed I performed an honest match,” Kontaveit instructed the press, after her win. “I used to be very constant within the first set, after which it bought just a little bit extra aggressive.

“I believe she raised her degree ultimately of the primary and within the second set as properly, so it bought just a little bit shut. However I felt like I used to be making an attempt to remain powerful, and I managed to try this fairly properly in the present day.”

World No.20 Kontaveit is into the Moscow quarterfinals for the second time in her final two showings. She additionally reached the elite eight in her most up-to-date look in 2018, earlier than falling to eventual finalist Ons Jabeur.

It took the Estonian solely an hour and 9 minutes to finest Petkovic and enhance her head-to-head in opposition to the German to 2-0. Kontaveit slammed 5 aces, received 77 % of her first-service factors, and transformed 4 of her seven break factors on the day.

Kontaveit continues a blistering second half of the season, having received 18 of her final 20 matches. That run of fantastic kind contains her second and third WTA singles titles, at Cleveland and Ostrava respectively. 

Awaiting Kontaveit within the quarterfinals is No.2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain. World No.5 Muguruza has received two of their three earlier conferences.

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